SF street tree species, by the numbers

The City of San Francisco had previously estimated the number of street trees at 105,000.* Now, thanks to an inventory process that took more than a year, we know the number of street trees in San Francisco is nearly 125,000!

While a typical city might have 80-100 different species represented among its street trees, our city has an astonishing 628 species and cultivars (a cultivar is a “cultivated variety” of a species, i.e., a subset of a species that has been bred to have special characteristics such as showier flowers, no fruit, a columnar form). This wild diversity is very valuable for a number of reasons:

  • It provides protection against pests and diseases that target specific species.
  • It allows us to observe the health and longevity of different species so our urban forest managers can consider new options when planting in the future.
  • It reflects the great cultural diversity of our city. Many of these trees represent the origins of San Francisco’s residents.

*Updated to reflect more accurate data provided by the City of SF.

San Francisco's most common street trees

The chart above shows the 10 most common species in San Francisco. The most common, the London plane tree (Platanus acerifolia), is one of the world’s great street trees, lining the Champs Élysées in Paris, celebrated in a van Gogh painting, and found in cities from Australia to Alaska. It’s incredibly tough–tolerant of pollution, lack of water, too much water, excessive pruning, compaction. You’ll find them all over San Francisco, with the most iconic lining the way to City Hall and at the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park.

The London plane trees of San Francisco

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