This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Community Favorites, 75 can't-fail, easy-care plants well-adapted to our region and recommended by local gardeners.
Chilean lily of the valley tree
Size: 15 to 25 feet tall
Bloom season: Spring and summer
Exposure: Full sun
Pruning needs: Little or none
Water needs: Once the tree is established, water deeply once or twice a month
Snapshot: As the name implies, this South American native is known for its enchanting spring flowers. Its small, shiny evergreen foliage looks a lot like live oak. But in late spring and early summer, this tree produces masses of delicate, white, inch-long, bell-shaped flowers like lilies of the valley, dancing overhead. Reliably heat- and drought-tolerant, this ornamental tree grows very upright with a narrow profile, making it a good screen or patio tree. You can see specimens in the arboretum's White Flower Garden on the UC Davis campus.
Why it's a Favorite: "I especially love this glossy evergreen in early summer when it becomes a campanile of delightful ivory bells," said Warren Roberts, the arboretum's supervisor emeritus.
See a photo gallery of the Community Favorites online at www.sacbee.com/home_ garden.