Not everyone is a fan of fall color around the Silver Lake Reservoir

Photos by Sandy Driscoll

Sandy Driscoll was taking photo of a tree on the west side of the Silver Lake Reservoir that was bursting with color when a woman in her car pulled up and issued a warning:

“Don’t even think about planting one of those … they’re so messy.”  I commented on how beautiful it was, and asked her what kind of tree it was.   “It’s a pain in the ass!” she replied, and she drove off.

What kind of tree is it? Looks to be a Chinese Flame Tree, which can be colorful but have also been the subject of  blog posts titled “Worst Tree I Have Ever Planted.”


  1. Seems racist against Chinese.

  2. I love people yelling comments out of their cars.

  3. I had a Chinese Pistache in front of my house and it was the most beautiful tree in the neighborhood in the fall. It also provides great shade in the summer. I say plant them everywhere, especially since LA is going to really be warming up in the decades to come.

  4. Angelenos have it soooo easy in the garden. Being from back east, I laugh everytime I hear a comment about ‘messy’ trees.

  5. There is a tree in my neighbors backyard that is so invasive. Much like this tree, it spreads seeds which grow easily and fast. Literally they will grow from seed to 20 feet high in half a year with a trunk 7 inches around. You see these trees everywhere, especially on the side of freeways and railtracks. Unlike this beautiful tree, my neighbors twin 50 foot trees bring no bright fall colors. I dont know the name of the tree.

  6. Messy, fine, but if it’s invasive, PLEASE STAY AWAY!! Like Morning Glory – PLEASE DO NOT PLANT!!! People 4 houses down planted morning glory, and it has taken over the slope and keeps creeping into our backyard and trying to strangle the California Natives that we planted. Awful, awful plant.

  7. Jose,
    I think you’re talking about what’s commongly known as Tree of Heaven

    It’s been discussed on the Eastsider before:
    It takes a real determined effort to get rid of it. And some people like it because it’s always green. And then all their neighbors continue to suffer because of their ignorance (and unwillingness to listen).

    • It’s not always green. It is deciduous.

    • So true about the “Tree of Heaven”. The vacant lot that used to house The Coffee Table in Silver Lake (still annoyed by those developers by anyway…) is sprouting scores of these trees and it’s amazing how fast they have started to grow there even before the rains had started.

  8. fullyladenswallow

    Nice photo, Sandy. Stunning color.


  9. looks like a Koelreuteria tree there are all over and very pretty! Messy trees are part of the landscape. Part of the FALL colors. If she doenst like the mess it cause shed rather be watching the wheel of fortune then in the garden!

  10. sorry sandy –

    i was in a piss poor mood that day and was all like “f those damn pretty color trees!”, i need to jump outta my car and yell about em!

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