Pasadena Beautiful Foundation works with the city to plant trees in parks, in streets and around neighborhoods as well as on Arbor Day. 

Pasadena Beautiful was founded in 1960 to plant street trees
to enhance the beauty of Pasadena. One of our primary goals continues to be the selection, purchase and planting of street trees. Following the City’s Master Street Tree guidelines, a very dedicated Pasadena Beautiful volunteer, Emina Darakjy hand selects each tree for a specific site. Supervised planting and maintenance by trained professionals ensure a healthy tree canopy for our city.

The beautiful green tree canopies in Pasadena are in small part
an example of our efforts over the last 60 years making it a
special place to live, work and raise a family.

A PBF member represents the organization on the Urban Forestry Advisory Committee (UFAC) board and attends their monthly meeting to advocate for the future care and protection of our urban forest because we want to protect and preserve.

July Tree of the Month

Cassia leptophylla – gold medallion tree
Family: Fabaceae

The gold medallion tree is native to the tropical forests of southern Brazil.

This is a small to medium size evergreen tree but can become deciduous when temperatures are in the 25-30°F range. The tree can reach a height of 20 to 30 feet with an open crown and a 25-30 feet wide spreading canopy. Its branches are droopy with dense dark green foliage consisting of pinnately divided leaves with 1-2” long leaflets making it a good shade tree. The trunk is gray-brown and furrowed.

In the summer, this gorgeous looking tree is covered with clusters of very large flowers with each resembling a bouquet that tends to hang on the tree for a long time. The flowers are bright yellow, showy and fragrant. The bees and butterflies love them.

In the fall after the tree is finished flowering, long, thin bean-like seed pods up to 2 feet long dangle from the tree. The pods are green at first turning brown and woody later. The seeds are non-edible.

The tree does not require much maintenance but would benefit from a good pruning when young to help it develop a strong trunk and branches as well as for sidewalk clearance especially when planted as a street tree. The tree is considered drought tolerant and is fast growing. It does better in the sun and in a well-drained soil. At the present there are no known serious diseases affecting this tree and damage to sidewalks from this tree’s roots is very low.

This tree is a good candidate for residential landscaping, as a street tree, or in a park. We have the Los Angeles County Arboretum to thank for introducing it in 1958. I am noticing this tree everywhere I go now, and there is a good reason for that as when in bloom this spectacular looking tree brings a smile to everyone’s face and shouts “Hello Sunshine”.

Article and photos by Emina Darakjy

Tree Request Information for Homeowners:

Typically, when the city is ready to start their planting cycle, they will leave a note to inform the homeowner that they are about to get a tree which is usually a 15-gallon tree. If you prefer a larger tree than the one provided by the city, please inform the city of your preference. The city will then contact Pasadena Beautiful about the homeowner’s request for the upgrade, and PBF will instead provide a 24 in. box size tree. 

Please note that the planting site has to be approved and the curb marked by the city after the dead tree is removed and the stump is ground prior to planting a new tree.

Alternatively, as the homeowner, if you want to pay for a larger tree, please email us at [email protected] and include your address and contact information where you can be reached. The cost is $500 and includes the tree, delivery, stakes, ties, trunk guard, slow-release fertilizer, soil amendments, mulch and labor.

Street tree requests should be directed to the 311 call center or (626) 744-3846

Any questions or inquiries regarding urban forest, please call or email:
Michael King
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (626) 744-3846