Thursday, February 7, 2008

Silk Floss Shadows

Meet chorisia speciosa, the silk floss tree. They grow all around here. I grew up in Illinois. (Maples. Elms.) Flora-wise, moving to California is like landing on another planet. I wouldn't have known what to call this if I hadn't decided to post this photo, which forced me to look it up.

I found a pair of silk floss trees outside a famous Pasadena property. When we first moved here we marveled at the huge Tudor mansion we saw lording it over the arroyo as we crossed the Colorado Street Bridge. A few weeks later we gaped at the ruins when the home was destroyed by fire. (Some of the links in this article are dead, but there's a good photo of the fire's aftermath.)

Not much is left there now. But the gate house, its windows boarded, still stands, shadowed by two giant silk floss trees.

(click photos to enlarge)


Bernie K. said...

My friend Tracy Connor says that southern CA is shagged with "Dr. Suess foliage"—! This pic proves her point.

Pont Girl said...

Wow Petrea, great pic! When I first logged on I thought, what the heck? Then, when I saw the trees from a far I realized that I have seen those trees a million times but never gotten quite that close! Thanks for a different perspective!

P.S. Had dinner at Ruth's Chris in Pasadena tonight - mmm, mmm, good!

Jim said...

I grew up in Illinois also. I thought this was a picture of the surface of another planet. Neat looking picture. I dont think I have ever seen that kind of tree.

Petrea said...

Bernie: The illustrious Tracy Connor? Of course she's right. I'll go find more Suessian foliage for you and see if I can get some good shots.

Pont Girl: you came to Pasadena and didn't call? I'm going to tell Jeff at ParisDP.

Jim: Where in Illinois? I knew we were friends for a reason. Me: DeKalb.

Palm Axis said...

I've had a long love affair with that house. I've been viewing it from the Arroyo since I was a kid. I remember it going up for sale in the late 70's for $4000.00. I toured it as a selected Pasadena showcase house. When it went up in flames, I drove, parked and ran to witness it's demise. Broke my heart.

About the silk trees...It's flowers turn to pods the size of avocados and double the weight.

Jim said...

I was a little farther south. I grew up in a small town east of St. Louis. Not E. St. Louis, but close. It was called Cahokia.

Petrea said...

Palm Axis: I think everyone loved that house from afar. It was an elusive beauty. The fire must have drawn crowds in all directions, as I'm sure it could have been seen for miles. As for the sale price in the 70s, could you be missing a zero (or two)?
Was this the tour?

Here's to Cahokia, Jim!

Palm Axis said...

My mother worked as a secretary in a real estate office back in the 70's. They were representing the house. It was up for four hundred thousand dollars. I thought I'd write it out for clarity's sake.

Thanks for the link, but I couldn't get it to activate. I'll keep trying.

Petrea said...

Palm Axis: try copying and pasting the link. I don't know how to make it clickable here.

Four hundred thousand. Wow. Probably sounded like a lot back then, but it would be a bargain now. Probably even as is!

julia said...

You are right, it is a jolt to move to a new alien landscape as far as nature is concerned. A curious tree trunk and an evocative house both before and after. Yes, those giant Dodge cars are obscene, was comforting to hear how you object to them!