An attractive, desirable tree offering an opportunity to replace some Eucalyptus species; an online search will easily find images of Lophostemon confertus, or Brisbane box, used as an elegant street tree. Is this the right use for this tree? That same search will also find trees with massive trunk flares (example shown below) that will exceed standard tree well sizes. Cal Poly's Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute recommends providing planting spaces greater than ten feet, because the tree "may be larger in warmer areas." California is one of those areas where it may thrive and become larger than expected. Certainly, if provided ample space for it to thrive long-term, then we have a winning ornamental tree.
Botanical Name: Lophostemon confertus
Lophostemon: Greek, lophos for crest, for the appearance of the flower and its stamens.
Confertus: Crowded together, for the dense foliage
Common Name: Brisbane box; vinegar tree
Family Name: Myrtaceae
Garden Themes: Sub-tropical, Mediterranean, woodland
Uses: Street tree, lawn, shade, public spaces/parks, large planters, utility (hardwood is desirable for wood products)
Type: Evergreen tree
Form: Upright, erect
Size: 45' tall, 25' wide (native environment to nearly 100')
Outstanding Feature(s): Flower, bark
Bark: Red-brown, exfoliating
Color: Bronze new growth turning dark green
Surface: Leathery, smooth
Flower: Summer. White to cream clusters with prominent stamens
cultural requirements, tolerances & problems
Sunset Zones: 15-17, 19-24; H1, H2
USDA Zones: 9-12
Light: Sun to partial shade
WUCOLS SF Bay Area Hydro Zone: Moderate
Texture: Sand, loam, clay, well composted
Moisture Retention: Evenly moist with brief dryness
pH: Highly acidic to highly alkaline
Tolerances: Smog, drought
Branch Strength: Strong
citations & attributions
Bayton, R. (2019). The Royal Horticultural Society's the Gardener's Botanical: An Encyclopedia of Latin Plant Names. London: Mitchell Beazley.
Norris Brenzel, K. (Ed.). (2012). The New Sunset Western Garden Book. New York: Time Home Entertainment, Inc.
Plants for a Future. "Lophostemon confertus - (R.Br.) Peter G.Wilson & J.T.Waterh." Plants for a Future, Dawlish. Accessed on August 9, 2021, from https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lophostemon+confertus.
SelecTree. UFEI. "Lophostemon confertus Tree Record." 1995-2021. Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo. Accessed on Aug 9, 2021, from https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/1425.
Water Use Classification of Landscape Species. "WUCOLS IV Plant List." University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Davis. Accessed on July 27, 2021.
Leaves: "Starr 060503-8049 Lophostemon confertus" by Forest and Kim Starr is licensed under Wikimedia Commons.
Mature Trunk Flare: "Giant Tree (Lophostemon confertus)" by Tatters is licensed under flickr.
Street Tree: "Lophostemon confertus, habitus, Pretoria, a" by JMK is licensed under Wikimedia Commons.