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  • San Diego Zoo and Safari Park


Plants: Species

Elephant Tree Bursera microphylla

FAMILY: BURSERACEAE (Frankincense Family)

The elephant tree Bursera microphylla is extremely rare in San Diego County, but you can see it at the Safari Park's Baja California Garden and Nativescapes Garden.

In the deserts of California, Arizona, and Mexico, this plant's name makes more sense, since it can grow to tree size and its main trunk, used for water storage, is thick and grayish. At the Safari Park in a shadier location, it is low growing and spread out, more like a tangle of snakes than a large pachyderm.

The elephant tree is related to frankincense and myrrh, and its small leaves, when crushed, smell like camphor.