Identifying the Maytens Tree

Help for the Home Gardener from the Help Desk of the
UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County

Identifying a Mayten Garden Tree
Client's Request:  
Hello Master Gardeners, could you identify this tree for me?  I moved from the Midwest (Minnesota) a couple of years ago and am learning the names of the trees and plants in the Bay Area that I am not familiar with.  I live in a townhouse development in Walnut Creek and we have several trees of the variety pictured below in our complex.  Thank you.

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Help Desk Response:  Thank you for contacting the UC Master Gardener Help Desk asking about the identification of a tree planted in your development. Your photographs were helpful. 

The tree is aMayten tree (Maytenus boaria). It is native to Chile which also has a Mediterranean climates similar to ours here in California.

This website has information about the tree and could be helpful in identifying other trees in California.

Good luck in learning about the plants in this area. 

Help Desk of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County (smt)

Notes: Contra Costa MG's Help Desk is available almost year-round to answer your gardening questions. Except for a few holidays (e.g., last 2 weeks December), we're open every week, Monday through Thursday for walk-ins from 9:00 am to Noon at 2380 Bisso Lane, Concord, CA 94520. We can also be reached via telephone:  (925) 608-6683, email:, or on the web at Blogs can be found at You can also subscribe to the Biog.