This looks like a curiously well-camouflaged avocado - but it is, I promise you, here, amid the vinca and the California poppies and some white-flowered weedish plant I can't offhand identify. In a few years' time - I think it has to reach about six feet - it should start to bear real avocados. It currently has tiny, tiny ones, the size of an ant, which will all drop off.
It's been a dream of mine to have an avocado tree since I first visited LA, back in March 1988. I went to speak at UC Riverside, - on Holman Hunt's The Awakening Conscience - and stayed the night with the amazingly hospitable Ruth ap Roberts and her husband: they had a sprawling (to my English eyes) house with wonderful art round every corner - including a huge painting of a foot - maybe a sculptured foot - in the living room. They also had a huge tabby cat called Princess Di. There was a star-studded cast for dinner, but I have no idea where I might have kept any record of that, and I can't, alas, remember who was there - but I do know that at least one couple who taught at UCLA came. Only now do I realize the magnitude of that driving gesture. Back then, Riverside still had a good number of orange groves, and that struck me as extraordinarily exotic. And Ruth had, yes, an avocado tree on the front lawn. I don't know where, prior to this, I thought avocados came from (before the supermarket), but this was a revelation - the thought that one might have one's own home-grown avo supply! And now, nearly 30 years later, I'm hoping to arrive, sooner or later, at this pinnacle of horticultural aspiration.