ISI 2009-17. Bursera microphylla A. Gray

This elephant tree of the SW USA and NW Mexico is exceedingly variable in habit, ranging from upright trees to compact natural bonsai. The latter are usually the result of prominent onshore winds in coastal habitats, while more upright plants tend to occur inland. Judicious pruning can maintain the bonsai forms so desirable in cultivation. Most individuals are dioecious, producing either male or female flowers. Rare individuals are hermaphrodites. Some percentage of these are self-fertile and spontaneously produce their purplish drupes, which open by three valves to reveal single, three-angled seeds covered in a bright orange aril. Our offering is grown from such a plant, HBG 48124, collected 28 May 1982 by Joe Clements about 2 miles south of Punta Santa Rosalía, on the coast of the Sea of Cortez, Baja California Norte, Mexico. $7.

Photo © 2009 by John N. Trager. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 81 (2), March - April, 2009