“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The second best time is now.”
Chinese Proverb

Renal and Reyes plant noni trees.

When Refugio de Los Angeles was purchased in the early 1990s, cattle and coffee were good sources of income for the former owner, Señor Otonel Vargas. The Pacific Slope has many fine attributes, but erosion protection on the steep terrain has not been one of them. Years of cattle grazing and clearing for growing coffee have made landslides a frequent occurrence in this region. To prevent erosion on his property, while still maintaining a cash crop, Sr. Vargas planted thirty-five acres to the quick growing Melina tree, a native hardwood found throughout Asia.

Photo of a trail over a crest and up out of the ravine on the other side
A trail in the hills.

After the sale to the current owner, cutting the Melina trees as soon as they reached their growth potential was a priority. To achieve the goal of returning the property to the bio-diverse ecosystem of many years past, there was much research and work to do. A system of trails was built on the property to make possible the planting and preservation of trees that were disappearing from the region. This initial network of trails was designed to prevent erosion and to provide accessibility necessary for maintenance of the reforested areas. (The trail system has been greatly expanded. See TRAILS)

Photograph of a shovel, a spade and a pick on the steps of a trail system.
Trail building on Refugio de Los Angeles.

Visits to local farming cooperatives in search of seeds of native and indigenous species produced encouraging results. But the reforestation project really moved ahead after hiking around Quebrada Grande with the locals who knew where to find once common but now nearly extinct trees. In 2002, seeds and cuttings from over 30 scarce varieties of indigenous and native trees were brought to Refugio de Los Angeles. The saplings matured in the nursery for two years before planting.

Cis, Renal and ... carry a tree sapling in preparation for planting.
Preparing to plant a 2 year old Flamboyant.

The thirty-five acres planted to the Melina mono crop, could now be harvested and replaced with native and indigenous varieties of hardwoods, and fruit trees. Almost 13 years have passed since the ongoing reforestation project was begun. The effort to find, plant and nurture trees that were once all but lost to deforestation has now restored this property to a vibrant, beautiful, bio-diverse environment.

Photo of a young man well up a Guayabon Sura tree, standing on a large limb
Peter Jacobs in a majestic Guayabon Sura.

Partial List of Trees at Refugio de Los Angeles

 A complete list of all trees on the property would require a field study with an arborist because there are many species yet to be identified.

English (Spanish) ((Latin))
Angel’s Hair (Lorito/Cabello de Angel) ((Cojoba arborea))
Avocado (Aguacate)

A young girl, smiling, with two large avacados.
Sharing avacados grown on Refugio de Los Angeles.

Balsa tree (Balsa)

Photo of a huge double bunch of green bananas in a tree with huge fronds.
Several varieties of bananas are plentiful on the property.

Bitterwood (Hombre grande) ((Quassia amara))
Brazilian Copal/Stinking Toe (Guapinol) ((Hymenaea courbaril))

Photo of a woman sitting in a Guapinol tree with her feet perched atop a rough hewn ladder.
Eleanor Olmsted rests in a Guapinol with a great view.

Cacao (Cacao) ((Theobroma cacao))
Carambola/Star Fruit (Carambola)
Cashew (Maranon)
Cecropia Tree (Guarumo) ((Cecropia obtusifolia))
Cherry (Cereza)
Coconut tree (Palma de coco) ((Cocos nucifera))

A man, up in a tree, cuts coconuts loose.
Harvesting coconuts at Refugio de Los Angeles.

Coral Shower Tree/Sandal (Carao) ((Cassia grandis))

Photograph of a Coral Shower tree.
The pods of the Carao have many medicinal uses.

Cow’s Tongue (Lengua de vaca) ((Conostegia xalapensis))
Dwarf Poinciana (Hojasén) ((Caesalpinia pulcherrima))
Ecuador laurel (Laurel)
Fig tree (Higueron)
Flamboyant/Royal Poinciana (Malinche/Flamboyan)
Flame of the Forest (Llama del bosque)
Fustic ((Maclura tinctoria))
Gallinazo ((Schizolobium parahyba))
Golden Shower (Cañafistula) ((Cassia fistula))
Grapefruit (Toronja)

Two men with a wheel barrow full of grapefruits and coconuts.
Gathering grapefruits and coconuts.

Guachipelin ((Diphysa Americana))
Guacimo/West Indian Elm (Guacimo) ((Guazuma ulmifolia))
Guanacaste/Ear Tree (Guanacaste) ((Enterolobium cyclocarpum))
Guava (Guayaba) ((Psidium guajava))
Guayabon Sura (Sura) ((Terminalia oblonga))
Guayaquil ((Pseudosamanea guachapele))
Jobo ((Spondias mombin))
Jumbie Bean/White Lead tree (Ipil Ipil) ((Leucaena leucocphala))
Kapok tree/Silk cotton tree (Ceiba)
Lemon (Limon)
Mandarins/Tangerine (Mandarina)

A woman kneels in front of a bowl of mandarins, a towel full of mandarins and a pineapple and a watermelon.
Betty Mora selects tangerines for juicing.

Mango (Mango)
Melina (Melina) ((Gmelina arborea))
Moringa (Moringa) ((Moringa oleifera))
Mother of cacao/Quick stick (Madero negro) ((Gliricidia sepium))
Naked Indian tree/Gumbo limbo (Indio desnudo) ((Bursera simaruba))
Nance/Shoemaker’s tree (Nance/Nancite) ((Bryrsonima crassifolia))
Noni (Noni) ((Morinda citrifolia))
Orange (Naranja)

Photo of a low hanging branch of an orange tree loaded with large oranges.
Orange trees thrive at Refugio de Los Angeles.

Orchid tree ((Bauhinia variegata))
Papaya (Papaya) ((Carica papaya))

Photograph of a fruiting papaya tree at the base of a guayaba sura tree
Papaya tree.

Pau d’arco (Cortez negro) ((Tabebuia impetiginosa))
Pentaclethra, Gavilan ((Pentaclethra macroloba))
Perfume tree/Ylang-ylang (Ilan-ilan)
Pine (Pino)
Pink Trumpet Tree (Roble de Sabana) ((Tabebuia rosea))
Plumeria/Frangipani (Flor Blanca) ((Plumeria rubra))
Pochote/Spiny cedar (Pochote/Cedro espinoso) ((Pachira quinata))

Photo of a large Ancient Pochote tree.
Ancient Pochote.

Quebracho ((Lysiloma divaricatum))
Queen’s Crape myrtle (Orgullo de India)
Rain tree/Saman (Cenizaro)
Red Targua (Targua) ((Croton gossypifolius))
Ronron ((Astronium graveolens))
Rose apple/Plum rose (Manzana Rosa)
Rosewood (Cocobolo) ((Dalbergia retusa))
Saino ((Caesaipinia eriostachys))
Silk Tree/Buttercup Tree (Poroporo)
Sour Orange (Naranja agria)
Soursop (Guanábana) ((Annona muricata))
Southern Chestnut (Carboncillo) ((Acosmium panamense))
Spanish Cedar (Cedro Amargo)
Spanish Cedar (Cedro Caoba)
Tabebuia/Yellow cortez (Cortez Amarillo)
Teak (Teca)
Tonka Bean (Almendro de monte)
Trema (Capulin) ((Trema integerrima))
Tropical almond (Almendro de playa)
Water apple/Malay apple (Manzana de agua)
Wild Cashew (Espavel)
Wild Tree Tobacco (Guitite)
Yellow Oleander (Café de la Montana)


A Private Nature Preserve For Sale