Liz Picco’s The Planting and Caring of the Lizard Tree

This is an essay I crafted for my Creative Non-Fiction class earlier this year. We were asked to write a character profile of ourselves using a unique format.

The Planting and Caring of the Lizard Tree

The Lizard Tree (Raptisicus Lacerta Greco-Mexicanus)
Native to central southwest Arizona, but has been thriving in northern California for the past thirty years. A small deciduous tree, known for its sturdy trunk and long smooth branches that when mature will reach unlimited heights in publications and sales. Will tolerate fog, drought, and heavy winds, but dislikes over watering, limelight, and dim points of view. This hybrid is not fruit bearing. The Lizard Tree buds in March and blooms through October with, aqua and copper colored flowers that open up in the heat of the day and close well after midnight. During spring and summer the flowers release a subtle olive oil fragrance that attracts hummingbirds, storytellers, and roadrunners that love the medicinal pulpy leaves. In late fall, after the Day of the Dead, when its leaves drop the Lizard Tree goes into prolonged periods of solitude surfacing briefly for family and friends. Do not disturb the roots during the winter months simply cover with thick layers of old Sunday newspapers and copies of revisions. It is deer, gopher, and rejection proof and resistant to obstacles and negativity. Kids love to sit in its shade and listen to its leaves tell a story.

Planting Instructions
Find the sunniest spot in the most prominent place in your garden where the Lizard Tree can spread without hindrance. Do not plant next to Evergreen, Coniferous or Eucalyptus Trees. It prefers fig and mesquite trees and grows best along side of sunflowers, writers, rock n’ roll, and trailing oregano. Dig a wide, deep hole, place in the center and embellish the Mediterranean soil with several shovelfuls of travel, layers of good books, long festive meals, and a dry sense of humor. Tamp down the soil for security, but do not place a stake next to the trunk, as it will stunt its growth. Water every other day, keep area distraction free and fertilize with good short stories, garlic, lemon peels, and graphite pencils. Be patient, it’s a late bloomer, but once it flowers, it will send out runners and establish deep supportive roots.

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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well ( The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

7 thoughts on “Liz Picco’s The Planting and Caring of the Lizard Tree

  1. I have a shoot of this tree planted in my garden. It emanates a wonderful and long lasting fragrance. The Lizard Tree provides back support and shelter season after season. If you find some leaves, keep them; they will tell you the fascinating stories of its species. I hope an alert “gardener” is soon going to collect and press them inside a gold lettered hardcover.

  2. I am a neighboring vine and I thoroughly appreciate this endangered species. I particularly enjoy its company when it surfaces and respect its need for privacy. It has a superb way of telling a story.

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