Ballona Institute Publication 20 March 2020

Santa Monica College (SMC) Campus Trees in 1976:
Grace Heintz, Tree Lady, Teacher, Botany Student, Resident & Botanical Researcher
'Environmental Studies & Environmental Sciences'
Field Botany, Conservation Biology / Applied Ecology
Geography, History, Philosophy, Ethics, Psychology, Economics

Robert Jan van de Hoek
SMC Student & Researcher
Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California
March 20, 2020

          Santa Monica College (SMC), located in coastal Los Angeles County, California, has had a great many kinds of trees in the past. However, a great many trees have been lost, between 1956 and 1976, and even more between 1976 and 2020. Most notable are the loss of native trees, but also many international trees from around the world have been lost.

          Trees are regularly removed over the decades to make way for new buildings, making the campus not environmental, nor sustainable, and thus a violation by impacting social justice and environmental justice of students, their instructors, maintenance staff and administrative staff, with regard to the right to have clean air and clean water, but also related to climate change issues, while assisting the wealthy of the City of Santa Monica and discrediting the poor, women and minorities in a classic case of lack of environmental ethics with a campus that is not green, nor environmentally sensitive, and very sad to know and have to report here in this study.

          From 1975 to 1976, Grace Heintz wrote and published respectively, her baseline report of SMC trees. Here is the narrative of her report. Her comprehensive report is based mostly on her own field research and library research. However, she also relied on an earlier researcher, student and writer of the trees of SMC Campus, namely George Hastings. Grace Heintz also received guidance and knowledge from her former SMC Botany Professor, Robert Armacost, who, by the way was also the very first SMC Botany Professor, and first and only chairman of the Botany Department for more than 40 years. And now I build upon these three very fine former researchers of the SMC Campus trees.

Excerpted 1976 Baseline Report of Santa Monica College (SMC) Campus Trees by Grace Heintz, Tree Lady, Botany Student, Resident & Botanical Researcher

Page 25
          Entering the Campus from Pico near 20th Street, the tree on the right is a Eucalyptus viminalis with buds and fruit in threes. Next is a long row of Silk Oak (Grevillea robusta). In the yard of the Music Building is a Redbud. At the southeast corner of the Art Building stands an Evergreen Pear (Pyrus kawakamii). On the north side of the brick utility building Weeping Bottle-brush (Cal[l]istemon viminalis) and Redbud. In the yard to the west is a Primrose Tree (Lagunaria patersonii) and Ginkgo biloba. The first trees of those behind the bungalows is a Goldenrain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) the only found in the city. Return to the parking area and near the walk to the south is a small tree whose leaves hang down like a pony's mane, this is Australian Willow (Geijera parviflora). To the south of the utility building is a Carrotwood (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) which looks somewhat like Carob. [N]ext is a Liquidambar (Liquidambar styraciflua). In the little fenced garden to the south is a young Blackwood Acacia, to the rear is a King Palm. Near the center is a MacNab Cypress (Cupressus macnabiana), rare even in its native habitat, Oregon and Northern California, and the only one in the city. To the southeast is a Sugar Bush (Rhus ovata) a native of our Santa Monica Mountains.

          On the east side of the Science Building is a Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) with long slender feathery foliage. Nearer the the street is a pyramidal Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). This native of China, once thought to exist only in fossil form, was discovered in the 1940's. It is related to our Coast Redwood which is the next tree farther back on the lawn. At the southeast corner of the building are three Brisbane Box (Tristania conferta), trees that resemble the Eucalyptus but have no lid on the fruiting capsule. In the corner by the stairs is a Lily of the Valley Tree or Flowering Oak, yet it is neither a lily nor oak but a tree from Chile called Crinodendron pata[g]ua. The smaller tree just at the corner is a Cape Pittosporum (P. viridflorum) with leaves clustered at the ends of the branches. At the northeast corner of the Administration Building is a Queen Palm and by the east entrance a Mexican Fan Palm. The White Bird-of-Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai) and the shorter Strelitzia reginae are in the corner at 110-A.

Page 26
          On the Pearl Street side of the Administration Building are two Mysore Figs (Ficus mysorensis), members of the Mulberry family and native to India, and two London Plane Trees (Platanus acerifolia). In the yard between the Administration Building and the Liberal Arts are Evergreen Pear and Red Ironbark (Eucalyptus sideroxylon), a Eucalyptus whose bark always gives away its identity. Toward the street grow two Brazilian Peppers (Schinus terebinthifolius), and at the curve of the sidewalk, a Silk Oak and a Poplar. Along the south side of the Liberal Arts Building one notes: a thick-barked Cork Oak (Quercus suber), Lemon-scented Gums (Eucalyptus citriodora), a Southern Magnolia, and several large, rounded trees of the Indian Laurel Fig (Ficus microcarpa). Nearby is a Western Sycamore (Platanus racemosa), and toward the sidewalk a Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia).

          In the parkway at the end of the driveway is a Desert Gum (Eucalyptus rudis). Another Cork Oak is seen on the lawn near the driveway. At the entrance to the Liberal Arts Building are Olives, one on each side. To the north grow a Chinese Elm, another Dawn Redwood, and a Moreton Bay Fig beyond. North of the library receiving driveway are three Liquidambar (L. styraciflua) and Eucalyptus macrocarpa, a meager sprawling shrub whose bloom is very large and conspicuously pinkish-red. Along the west wall of the Library are three Rusty-leaf Figs and a row of Italian Cypress. There is a Jacaranda in the corner of the Cafe Patio. At the Student Activities Basement is Grevillea banksii whose flower is unique to the Proteas. The fern-leaved trees are Albizia julibrissin locally known as Silk Trees, and throughout the southern part of the U.S. as Mimosa. Closer to the building are two small Birch Trees.

          North of the steps is a row of 'miniature' trees which are related to the oleander. This one is even called Yellow Oleander (Thevetia peruviana). Leaves are long and slender with edges that slightly roll under. The flower on these is not yellow but apricot. The inch long fruit is unevenly rounded. Along the mall are Kaffirboom (Erythrina caffra).

Page 27
          Now enter the court between the Bookstore and the Little Theatre. Here one comes upon three unusual Brachychiton which Mr. Hastings thought were hybrids. They are Bottle Trees as evidenced by the trunks, but the leaves are quite different, being highly variable. A large Coral (Erythrina caffra stands at the entrance to the table area. in the planter to the north is a clump of Senegal Date Palms (Phoenix reclinata). Beyond is a Jacaranda. The central north-south walk east of the table area is lined with Carob Trees. Near the steps to the south are two specimens of Hakea suaveolens, a protea which is pine-like in appearance.

          Beside the door to the Health Offices is the Pineapple Guava (Feijoa sellowiana). Opposite is Podocarpus gracilior.. Beside it is a Macadamia Nut (M. [terni]folia), a Protea with leaves in whorls of three. The small tree at the far side with the "oak" leaves is yet another Protea, the Fire-wheel (Stenocarpus sinuatus) so called for its wheel-like flower clusters. Next to it are Ficus benjamina and a Pink Powder Puff (Calliandra haematocephala). At the south of the Student Activities Basement is Italian Cypress.

          The shrubs along the walk on the Southside of the Faculty Cafeteria are India Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica). The trees in the clock tower area are Sycamores. Some are Western Sycamores with fruit hanging in threes or fours on a zig-zag axis; The others are London Plane Trees with larger one or two fruits. The London Plane leaves are three-lobed while the Western ones are five-lobed.

          In front of the library is an Evergreen Pear and three Lemon-scented Gums. South of the clock tower is an Olive and a Chinese Elm. The shrub by the English Offices which bears red leaves and catkins is a Queensland Poplar (Homalanthus populifolius), a member of the Euphorbia Family. There is also a small Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergiana), Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), the tree with the leaves in flat planes. Next are two Natal Coral (Erythrina humeana) native to South Africa. A Ginkgo is found in the southeast corner of the court. The leaves are so like the maidenhair fern it is sometimes called Maidenhair Tree. This is a male tree. The female tree has such evil-smelling fruit it is seldom grown. (There is one in the County Arboretum). The surprising thing[s] is that the seeds are sweet and resinous, and edible. The tree can be grown by cuttings, grafting or layering so only male trees need be propagated.

Page 28
          At the northwest corner of the Sciences Building, are a Bailey Acacia and Chinese Juniper. In the court north of the Science Building are cedars, first Cedrus atlantica, then Cedrus libani, the Cedar of Lebanon, and then Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca' with leaves a silvery blue. Near the main doors is an Italian Alder (Alnus cordata). Down the walk going north is a large-leaved bushy Fruity Mulberry (Morus alba). Just beyond is a Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora). To the right are more Ginkgos. Along the undulating wall of the Art Building are Carolina Cherries (Prunus caroliniana). In the yard is a Deodar Cedar. Inside the wall in the patio is a large Brazilian Pepper.

          Along the north wall is a double row of shrubs, those to the rear tall, those to the front trimmed. The shrubs at each end of this row are natives found in our local mountains, Christmas Holly (Heteromeles arbutifolia). Those in the middle are clipped Strawberry Trees, (Arbutus unedo). To the east is a[n] Eugenia.

          In the Music Building yard the tree nearest the amphitheater is found in only two other places in the city, Pink Cedar (Acrocarpus fraxinifolius) with a very, very large total leaf structure, which in casual viewing seems to have 5 to 7 pairs of drooping, dark green leaflets. The larger structure is always in sevens. New leaf growth is a viviv red. The tree further back is an Orchid Tree. On the lawn south of the Business Building are two Pines, the Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis) with two needles and a three needled Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata).

          Continue around the amphitheater: ahead are Sycamores, while on the far side is a group of undetermined Eucalyptus with one Eucalyptus sideroxylon at the far end. At the rear of the Cosmetology Building are Pines. Those with the very long needles in threes are Canary Island Pines. Those with the stiff needles in groups of five are Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana), quite rare in the city. The round-topped trees are Italian Stone Pine (Pinus pinea) with needles in two's. Also there: the Lemon Bottle Brush (Callistemon citrinus) and the Weeping Bottlebush (Callistemon viminalis). The tall tree with small sharp leaves is the Rigid-leaf Melaleuca (M. styphelioides). The tree at the corner with the interesting trunk is the Australian Willow Myrtle (Agonis flexuosa) whose leaves smell like peppermint when crushed. Across by the announcement board are two Eucalyptus viminalis.

Page 29
          To the west are three Kafir Plums (Harpephyllum caffrum) a member of the Sumac family with edible fruit. The leaves superficially resemble those of the Brazilian Pepper. Beyond is a row of trees with oddly angled leaves that grow in clusters at the end of the branches. These are Spiked Cabbage Trees (Cussonia spicata) members of the Aralia Family. To the right is a smaller tree belonging to the Aralia Family, also. Its patterns of growth is much the same, but the leaves are divided into a number of segments that change in size and shape as the plant matures. This is the Threadleaf False Aralia (Dizygotheca elegantissima.). To the west of the next building are Eucalyptus, the first is Silver Dollar Gum (E. polyanthemos). The common name is frequently misleading for many times the leaves are just not round. The following two are E. cinerea whose stems seem to pierce the leaves. The fourth tree is a Red Gum (E. camaldulensis), the second most common Eucalyptus found in the city. Most common are the Blue Gums. The purple-flowered bottlebrush shrub to the west is Callistemon 'Jeffers'.

          Between 1976 and 1999, the 'American' Bald Cypress and 'Chinese' Dawn Redwood were extirpated (locally extinct) at Santa Monica College, as was the closely related Californian native tree, our Giant Sequoia Redwood and Coast Redwood, according to baseline 'SMC Tree Report' by Grace Heintz (1976, 1981).

          The removal of the beautiful historic Campus Library also resulted in the death of many California native trees, as well as national and international trees, including those listed above. After 2001, approximately 7 young Coast Redwood trees were planted to Far East side of the new science building, after the historical science building was demolished by bulldozers. These 7 young Coast Redwood trees are not doing well, as they have been deliberately mismanaged by SMC maintenance personnel. The SMC administrative gardeners perform heavy pruning practices, overwatering, carcinogenic chemical-based weeding practices and cutting off vital burl sprouts that provide important root nutrients, due to poor maintenance methods. These 7 redwoods had been planted after the Grace Heintz baseline report of 1976, most likely circa 199-2001, or thereabouts.

          Two California Native Plants of our Chaparral habitat, both shrub-like trees in the genus Ceanothus, that were present in the 1956 baseline report of George Hastings, when SMC campus was new, were removed by 1975, according to the 1976 baseline report of Grace Heintz, due to the new library construction.

          And what happened to the two other California native plants, also a tree-like bushes in the Sumac Family, known by the fascinating names of Sugar Bush and Laurel Sumac, both in the same genus of Rhus, until recently, when Laurel Sumac had the generic name changed back by the esteemed botanist, LeRoy Abrams, in his 1917 Flora of Los Angeles, which has finally had the genus Malosma, restored, and is no longer Rhus. The species epithet, however, is unchanged, so that the entire binomial name in Botanical Latin name reads as Malosma laurina. Interestingly, Grace Heintz (1976: 164) was prescient in showing this new name in parentheses: (Malosma laurina), neither italicized, nor in bold print, directly following behind Rhus laurina which was printed in bold type.

          The Redbud discussed in the first paragraph of the 1976 Grace Heintz baseline report of SMC trees does not provide a botanical name, however, a careful perusal of her species narratives found further into her book, shows that the Redbud on campus was not our native Californian Redbud of the Sierra Nevada, but instead was another closely related Redbud from eastern U. S., known by the English name as American Redbud, and with a botanical name as Cercis canadensis. The American Redbud is now gone, removed by SMC personnel sometime between 1956 and 1976, and I am very curious as to why our western Redbud, a California native plant was not used for landscaping in 1956 or 1976, or not even considered for planting in the last few decades?

          Sometimes throughout the report we find subtle nuances allowing us insight into the knowledge sharing that Grace Heintz gave to us. For example, Grace Heintz (1976:26) told us about 2 small trees, indicating to us that they are young and newly planted. Furthermore, she did not share with us the Botanical Latin name because they were young, with not yet any flowers or fruits, so exact identification was not able to be done at the time of writing her book. So, instead she shared with us only the English name, with a description of location as near a building, which by context, earlier in the paragraph, is the Liberal Arts Building. Here is her passage, shared here for context to show what I discovered about her writing:

"Closer to the building are two small Birch Trees."

          Other times, Grace Heintz allows us a glimpse into the status and plight of an international tree. An example is the Evergreen Pear, a native tree ofJapan, revered in Japan and by Japanese Americans in Los Angeles County as evidenced by their planting of this tree in many places. At SMC, Grace Heintz (1976: 25, 26) reported only two Evergreen Pear on the Campus. On a recent inspection of the Campus in the early evening of 8 April 2020, I could not find these two Evergreen Pear. And back at the temporary headquarters of the Ballona Institute, I consulted the earlier book on the trees of Santa Monica and found a passage about the Evergreen Pear on the SMC Campus, where George Hastings (1956: 134) wrote that he found three times as many of these unique Japanese trees, with the brief pithy statement:

"Pyrus kawakami, Hayata.
"A small evergreen pear tree grown as an ornamental. Native of the eastern part of Asia, and Japan.
"City College, a half dozen specimens."

          George Hastings (1956: 18-20) provided information for the exact location of just 2 of 6 Evergreen Pear trees of the SMC Campus, also listed by Grace Heintz, and now gone 65 years and 45 years later, respectively. A careful perusal of the first book by George Hastings (1944: 95) only found Pyrus communis, not P. kawakamii. I note here that George Hastings did not spell the species epithet of the Evergreen Pear with a Botanical Latin ending of a double 'I', which is unlike how Grace Heintz (1976: 25, 160) with a double 'I' and appears to be the correct spelling. I also note that Grace Heintz did not use the author name of Hayata, but she did not do the names of authors for any of the trees of her book, contrary to George Hastings who provided the name of every author for every tree name that he listed in his two tree books of 1944 and 1956 respectively.

          Here is a brief population census leading to extirpation (local extinction) on the SMC Campus:
1944, No trees prior to SMC campus being relocated here (Hastings, 1944)
1956, SMC planted 6 individuals (Hastings, 1956)
1976, SMC removed 4 trees, 2 individuals remaining (Heintz, 1976), thus 67% reduction of this tree;
2020, SMC removed final 2 individuals (van de Hoek, 2020, this report), likely removed circa 1999-2001.

          George Hastings (1875-1964) made the first baseline report of the trees of Santa Monica College (SMC) in 1956. And then, virtually 20 years later in 1976, Grace Heintz made another baseline report of SMC trees, doubling down on the importance of baseline reports for trees. And then, to top things off, 13 years later in 1989, Grace Heintz provided us with a third baseline report of SMC trees of the trees. Interestingly, the City of Santa Monica dedicated a plaque to both George Hastings and Grace Heintz in recognition of their work on the trees of the City, which was placed in Palisades Park.

          Since the city of Santa Monica honored Grace and George and they both lamented the loss of trees in Santa Monica, one wonders why the City and College are not replanting the same trees that have been lost, once again at Santa Monica College and in the City of Santa Monica?