Myoporum flowers
Myoporum laetum Myoporum laetum

UPDATE: There is a tiny insect called a thrip that has recently entered the state that feeds on this tree species. Many tree are dying in Southern California. There are infected trees noted on Monterey Peninsula area currently. MYOPORUM LAETUM CAN NO LONGER BE RECOMMENDED and many nurseries in our area no longer carry trees for sale. See more information about this pest at Center for Invasive Species

That said, Myoporum still grows on every street in Marina. Myoporum will remain on this list for informational purposes only and is NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PLANTING. Evidence of thrip infestation includes puckered leaves, defoliation and death of the tree. Please view our recommended replacement list if you have a dead or dying Myoporum.

The earlier list recommendation for our area was based in the ability of this tree to grow quickly and not need any dry season water once established. It has attractive glossy green foliage and can be pruned to a symetrical dense spreading canopy that provides good shade. Tiny white flowers in the spring are an added bonus. It is very tolerant of seaside conditions and does not seem bothered by salt laden air. Reseeds freely and is listed as an invasive species by the California Invasive Plant Council

Myoporum will thrive (without thrips) in semi-shady or full sun locations. Sometimes the sticky leaves will harbor sooty molds - thining dense growth can help.

Myoporum drops its mature purple fruit - not so great around walkways and paths. The fruit hardens into sharp bits (like cloves) which bare feet may find painful.

Maximum height
30 feet

Life Span
40-60 years
Unknown effect from thrip infestation

Criteria for Ranking

1 (low) - 5 (high)

Drought Tolerance after first year establishment 5
Wind Tolerance 4*
Frost Tolerance 3*
Surface Roots/Sidewalk Lifting 5
Power Lines Proximity

5 (good choice)
Cost/Maintenance 3*
Disease/Pest Resistance/Hardiness (Myoporum Thrips)
*note asterisk denote species will be shaped by a prevailing wind. Single trunk trained trees need more protection than multi-trunk to grow straight.
*note asterisk denote species is frost sensitive and will die back to trunk. Usually recovers quickly.
*note species needs pruning and thinning to keep to umbrella form. Also reseeds freely from bird droppings is listed as an invasive species.

Location Myoporum can be found on any street in Marina - find a street that does not have Myoporum on it!

A row of street trees visible along Vista Del Camino by Grocery Outlet show evidence of thrips. Several of the trees have since been cut down and replaced with ornamental olives.