Mediterranean Fan Palm

Chamaerops humilis, Palm Family ( Palmae ) ( Arecaceae ), Mediterranean

Fan Palm: Also Called European Fan Palm, Windmill Palm.

An attractive little evergreen palm that has become very popular in recent

years, mostly due to its cold hardiness, it can resist temperatures below twenty

degrees Fahrenheit, it is fast growing, and drought resistant too!  The

European fan palm forms clumps than can grow up to 15 feet’ in height. The

triangular, fan-shaped leaves grow to about 20 – 24 inches long by about 24

inches wide. They are deeply divided into many segments that are themselves

split at the tip and are supported on 3 – 4 foot stems. This is an extremely

variable plant , the leaves range from blue-green to grey-green to yellow-green.

Some plants form suckers to become very shrubby plants that may reach 15 feet in

width. Other individuals can be seen that are dwarf in size, growing about 5

feet tall by 4 feet wide. It is best to remove all but a few of the suckers and

to prune the leaves to form a cluster of clear-trunked “smaller”

palms.

The Mediterranean Fan Palm has small, bright yellow flowers that form close

to the trunk hidden behind the leaf stems which are armed with very sharp teeth.

These are followed in the fall by a seedy fruit which is dark yellow, orange or

brown about 1 inch in diameter.  This plant is native to the hot, dry hills

and mountains of the Mediterranean Sea basin. Its native range extends from

Africa’s Atlas Mountains in Morroco to Spain and France and eastward to Turkey.

With the leaves trimmed up to clear the trunk it makes a beautiful specimen

plant – a delightful natural sculpture to grace your patio or entryway. Unpruned,

they assume an attractive shrubby form. Use them as a screens or plant several

side by side to form barriers.  The European fan palm is excellent in

containers and urns. And thanks to it’s drought resistance and durability to

heat it can thrive in harsh Arizona urban conditions.

Height: 5 – 15 feet, spread (crown) 5 – 20 feet.

Flowers: Its flowers, unisexual on dioecious plants, are small, whitish,

fragrant, clustered in axillary spadices up to 120 cm long markedly bent

downwards by their fruit weight.

Blooming Time: Southern Arizona, March – April. Phoenix Area, April -

May.

Fruit & Seeds: The fruits, commonly known as non edible dates, are on

the terminal portion of trunk, in clusters of small, 1 inch round to oval

reddish brown fruit. Leaves: The leaves are fan with a narrow petiole;

there are sharp teeth on the petiole; the frond color may vary, from gray to

dark or yellow green.

Found: Native to the Mediterranean (Europe and North Africa) . Found

throughout Arizona landscaping at lower elevations.

Elevation: 0 – 1,600 Feet.

Habitat: Lower elevations where water is available. It grows well in

sand, sandy loam, clay and other heavy soils. It needs good drainage and

aeration. It is remarkably tolerant of alkali.

Miscellaneous: Maintenance: Low.

Desert Willow

Chilopsis linearis, Family Bigonia ( Bigoniaceae ), Desert Willow.

Also called Sweet Desert Willow.

Large deciduous shrub to small tree. Its long narrow leaves are willow-like.

Its flowers are fragrant, pink to lavender. They appear in May and keep blooming

until late September or frost. Native near the waterways in the Mojave Desert.

It likes moderate water and sun. Does best in the desert. It is easy to grow for

landscaping.  Though its many common names refer to it as a willow, it is

not related to the willow species. Historically the desert willow has been used

by the Pima to thatch roofs and for the enjoyment of the pleasant fragrance

produced by the plant.

Height: Height to about 30 feet. About 27 feet wide.

Flowers: Fragrant, pink to lavender. Terminal clusters with bell or

funnel shape; attractive white, lavender or pink colors with distinctive yellow

throat and venation, they bloom strongest in May-June then sporadically until

frost or cold weather.

Blooming Time: May to September.

Leaves: Willow like leaves. Simple, solitary, linear, 1/2-3in long, 1/2

to 1/4in wide.

Bark: Gray brown, lighter colored cracks and splits, later develops

shallow furrows and becomes scaly.

Twig: Slender, initially green turning gray brown, buds are very small.

Seed Pod: Dehiscent Pod, 4-9in long, they cling on branches throughout

the winter.

Elevation: 0 – 5000 Feet.

Habitat: Found along washes throughout SW US and Mexico, Landscape Plant.

Blue Palo Verde

Parkinsonia (Cercidium) floridum, Used To Be Pea Family ( Leguminosae )

Now Called ( Fabaceae ), Blue Palo Verde.

An Arizona native desert tree with a spectacular bright yellow spring bloom

and light green trunks. The blue Palo Verde is thought to have arrived in

Arizona approximately 4240 years ago, according to pack-rat midden evidence.

Blue palo verde is a drought deciduous tree, up to 30 feet tall, with a short

trunk; and smooth buish-green bark. it normally is leafless, or it has temporary

bipinnate leaves, 0.4 to 0.8 inch long, 1 pair of pinnae, and 1 to 3 pairs of

leaflets.  The Blue palo Verde needs more water than the Foothill Palo

Verde and is normally restricted to washes and other areas closer to water. Blue

Palo Verde usually blooms about two weeks before Foothills Palo Verde. It also

is the largest of the Palo Verde.  Humans have also relied on the seeds for

food; crops are abundant in most years. The O’odham preferred to eat the green

seeds or pods; young seeds are tender and taste much like fresh peas. The Seri

ate the fresh green seeds and also toasted, ground, and ate the mature seeds in

a gruel. They usually raided pack rat nests to obtain the mature pods, and then

winnowed the seeds.  Four species of palo verde grow in the Sonoran Desert

and sometimes naturally hybridize.

Height: Up to 25 – 30 feet tall. Tallest of Palo Verdes.

Flowers: Bright yellow with five petals, pistils may be red – brown. 4 -

5 flowers in a cluster less than 2″ long; covering the tree in spring,

sometimes again in late summer.

Blooming Time: May – June.

Stems/Trunks : About one foot in diameter. The branches and most of the

main trunk are trunk and branches blue-green becoming Gray – Brown and scaly.

There are spines beneath the leaves in blue palo verde, but not so with Foothill

Palo Verde.

Leaves: Leaves are bipinnately compound, in pairs, about 1/2in long with

leaflets of 1/4 to 1/8in; often leafless most of the year, normally each fork

bearing 1-3 pairs of smooth, tiny leaflets, that are shed in early summer. This

is in contrast to Foothills Palo Verde which usually has 4 or more tiny

leaflets.

Seed Pod: 1 1/2-3 1/4″ long; narrowly oblong, flat, thin pods;

short-pointed at ends, yellowish-brown; maturing and falling in summer; 2-8

beanlike seeds. Seeds are dark red – brown.

Seeds: Smooth hard seeds are only slightly flattened with 2 to 7 found in

each pod.

Elevation: 500 – 4000 Feet.

Habitat: Needs water so it is common to washes and is uncommon on rocky

hillsides, mesas, and plains.

Foothill Palo Verde

Parkinsonia (Cercidium) microphyllum, Pea Family ( Leguminosae ),

Sometimes: Legume Family ( Fabaceae ), Foothill Palo Verde. Also called

littleleaf palo verde, yellow palo verde, horsebean, palo verde, lebón retama,

or palo brea (tar stick).

An Arizona native desert tree with spectacular yellow spring bloom and light

green trunks.  Foothill palo verde is a multitrunked, deciduous, large

shrub or small tree to about 15 feet tall, rarely to 30 feet in deep soils. The

yellowish-green branches are stiff and strongly upright, not drooping as in blue

palo verde. Leaves are twice-pinnate, each fork bearing 3 to 5 pairs of tiny

leaflets. Foliage is sparse even at the peak of the rainy season, and absent

during the dry season. There are no spines beneath the leaves as in blue palo

verde, but each twig terminates in a thorn. The tree flowers profusely for about

2 weeks in spring, beginning just as blue palo verdes in the same area are

finishing. Flowers are not as bright than those of blue palo verde; the petals

are pale yellow and the top banner petal is white. The seed pods contain 2 to 4

or more navy-bean sized seeds with thinner, softer shells than those of blue

palo verde.  Foothill palo verde is also more drought resistant than blue

palo verde and it is not restricted to washes and it is common on rocky

hillsides. These very slow-growing trees are more than a century old at

maturity.

Height: Up to about 15 – 20 feet. Rarely up to 25 – 30 feet.

Flowers: Pale yellow with five petals but, with one being a white petal

(banner), pistils may be red – brown.

Blooming Time: May – June.

Stems/Trunks : About one foot in diameter. The branches and most of the

main trunk are smooth and slightly yellow-green in contrast to the Blue Palo

Verde. There are no spines beneath the leaves as in blue palo verde, but each

twig terminates in a thorn.

Leaves: Leaves are twice-pinnate, normally each fork bearing 3 to 5 pairs

of tiny leaflets. Sometimes; each leaf will have one pair of major leaflets and

5 to 7 pairs of minor leaflets.Yellowish green in color, 1/16″ to 3/4″

long;

Seed Pod: A dark brown to black, woody seed capsule four to six inches

long, maturing in mid to late summer. hanging on till late spring the next year.

Seeds are dark red – brown.

Seeds: Smooth hard seeds are only slightly flattened with 2 to 7 found in

each pod.

Elevation: 500 – 4000 Feet.

Habitat: Not restricted to washes and is common on rocky hillside, mesas,

plains, and deserts.

Texas Ebony

Pithecolobium (Pithecellobium) flexicaule, Bean Family ( fabaceae ), Texas

Ebony. Also called Mexican Ebony, False Acacia, or Ebony Blackbead.

This 15 to 30-foot-tall evergreen tree is native to Texas and Mexico and is

ideal for use in dry, desert landscapes. It’s short branches are covered in very

small, dark green leaflets and make up a 15 to 20-foot-wide round canopy. Short

thorns are interspersed among the branches. From June to August, Texas Ebony is

decorated with dense, plume-like spikes of very fragrant, light yellow to white

blossoms at the ends of branches. The dark brown to black, woody seed capsules

which follow are four to six inches long and persist on the tree.  In

Mexico, the seeds from the pods are eaten, and the black wood shells are roasted

as a coffee substitute in the past. The attractive, short trunk of Texas Ebony

is covered with smooth, grey bark. It makes a nice medium-sized shade tree.

Height: Up to about 30 feet.

Flowers: Dense, plume-like spikes of very fragrant, light yellow to white

blossoms at the ends of branches. Enjoyed by bees.

Blooming Time: June to August.

Stems/Trunks : An attractive gray smooth trunk; the stems have small

curved thorns.

Leaves: The leaves are small, dark green, bi-pinnate (compound), arranged

on a 1 inch to 2 inch long stems. Leaves fold up at night or in subdued

sunlight.

Seed Pod: A dark brown to black, woody seed capsule four to six inches

long, maturing in mid to late summer. hanging on till late spring the next year.

Seeds are dark red – brown.

Elevation: 0 – 3000 Feet.

Habitat: Low elevation landscaping in Arizona. Native to Texas and

Mexico.

White Thorn Acacia

Acacia constricta, Bean Family ( fabaceae ), White Thorn Acacia.

Also called mescat acacia.

A large deciduous shrub or small multistemmed tree. The white thorns which

give it its name are conspicuous, rigid and very sharp. Whitethorn acacia plants

are long lived. Some plants in the Sonoran Desert are known to be more than 72

years old.

Height: About 6 – 15 feet. Can reach 17+ feet.

Flowers: Yellow puffballs, on a 2 to 3 inch long stalk, aromatic, biggest

bloom in spring and early summer, then sporadic.

Blooming Time: April to June.

Stems/Trunks: White thorns of varying length; typically 1/4 to 1in long

and white; thorns are most obvious on young trees, fewer found on mature

specimens; young stem growth has reddish color, turning brown to gray-brown and

becoming furrowed and scaly.

Leaves: The leaves are alternate, semi-evergreen, bipinnately compound, 2

to 4 inches long, with 4 to 6 pairs of major leaflets and 8 to 12 pairs of minor

leaflets about ,1 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. They are green to gray – green

in color.

Seed Pod: A slender, long pod, 2 – 5 inches long, dark brown, the pod

sheath is constricted between the seeds. Flat elliptical seeds inside.

Elevation: 1500 – 5000 Feet.

Habitat: Washes, flats and canyons below 5000′. Sonoran deserts of

Arizona and Mexico.

Sweet Acacia

Farnesiana Or smallii Fabaceae Family ( Pea ) Sweet Acacia, Huisache,

Popinac, or Cassie.

A fast growing deciduous tree that is blooming during Thanksgiving -

Christmas season to early spring with a wonderful sweet smell. Its’ flowers can

be used in perfumes. Some people use them for a closet freshner.  Spiny,

many-branched, small tree with a widely spreading, flattened crown, and fragrant

yellow balls of tiny flowers.  Botanists can not agree as to which family

it belongs. Some say it is of the a member of the Mimosa family and may be a

native of Africa.

Height: Up To 25″ Tall.

Bark: Grayish-brown, thin, smooth or scaly.

Trunk: 3 to 8 inches in diameter.

Twigs: Slightly zigzag, slender, covered with fine hairs when young; with

straight, slender, paired white spines at nodes.

Flowers: 3/16″ long; yellow or orange; very fragrant; including many

tiny stamens clustered in stalked balls 1/2″ in diameter; mainly in late

winter and early spring.

Blooming Time: Early November – March or April.

Leaves: Alternate or clustered; bipinnately compound; 2 – 4″ long;

usually with 3 – 5 pairs of side axes. 10 – 20 pairs of leaflets 1/8 – 1/4″

long; oblong, mostly hairless, stalkless; gray-green.

Seeds: Seedpods 1 1/2 – 3″ long, 3/8 – 1/2″ in diameter; a

cylindrical pod; short-pointed at ends, dark brown or black, hard; maturing in

summer, remaining attached, often opening late; many elliptical flattened shiny

brown; seeds.

Found: Statewide. Very common low water use landscaping plant in the

Phoenix and Tucson areas.

Elevation: Below 2,000 Feet.

Habitat: Ornamental in lower elevations or Arizona. Introduced from

tropical America.

Mexican Blue Palm

Brahea armata, Palm Family ( Palmae ) ( Arecaceae ), Mexican Blue

Palm. Also called: Blue Hesper Palm, Blue Palm, Sweet Brahea Palm.

Mexican Blue Palm has a distinctive a unique and attractive shape similar to

that of a Washingtonia Palm only smaller. An easy way to tell the difference is

that the branching inflorescences are much longer with the Brahea armata palm.

A mature Mexican Blue Palm can have up to 30 palmate, or fan shaped, circular

leaves.  Mexican Blue Palm will take full sunlight, but it also grows well

in part sun/shade.

Height: Up to 50 feet tall with a spread of 16 feet. The trunks can

reach 16 inches in diameter.

Flowers: Its flowers are on multiple branching inflorescences up to 3

feet long, which project out and downward from the leaf crown.Often longer than

the leaves.

Blooming Time: Southern Arizona, March – April. Phoenix Area, April -

May.

Fruit & Seeds: The fruits are edible, round, and brownish black,

about 3/4 inch in diameter, and they contain a single seed.

Leaves: The leaves are blue – white or aquamarine in color. They are very

blue.

Found: Native to Northwestern Mexico (Baja California and Sonora) at low

to medium altitudes.

Elevation: 0 – 2,200 Feet.

Habitat: Desert canyons and cliffs on rocky limestone soils. It needs

good drainage and aeration. A sunny, warm, and well drained position. Drought,

and frost tolerant.

Fruitless Olive Tree

Elaeagnus angustifolia Olive Family ( Oleaceae ), Fruitless Olive

Tree.Also Called: Wilsonii , Majestic Beauty®’ Fruitless Olive Tree Monher’

Plant Patent No. 5649.

The Wilsonii fruitless variety of olive was discovered in a grove of Manzanillo

olives in 1979. It is a clean, evergreen, tree that does not produce fruit and

therefore eliminates the messy fruit drop and possible allergy problems

associated with fruit producing varieties. The Wilsonii has a slow to moderate

growth rate, and mature specimens of the tree obtain a height of 25 feet and 25

feet in diameter. These beautiful, dusty green trees grow very well in Arizona

at lower elevations. “Fruitless” will occasionally fruit, but not in

the quantity found in other olive trees. It is thornless, pest free, drought

tolerant, and long-lived — a perfect tree for the lower desert areas of

Arizona.  Olea europaea “Majestic Beauty”, ‘Monher’ Plant Patent

No. 5649 is another variety being offered in Arizona. It is a fruitless olive

which has soft gray-green willowlike foliage and a smooth grey trunk which

becomes gnarled as it ages. The Majestic Beauty is smaller than the standard

olive which normally reaches a height of 20-30 feet and produces no mature

fruit. Olive trees require full sun.

Height: 25-35 feet tall with equal or slightly less spread.

Flowers: Normally no flowers but can have small fragrant, creamy white to

yellow and tubular in shape flowers in late spring. They grow in small clusters.

Blooming Time: If they bloom in Southern Arizona, March – April. Phoenix

Area, April – May.

Fruit & Seeds: Green fruit in late summer; turns redish to black as

it ripens.

Leaves: The leaves are 1 to 3″ in length, alternate, simple, silver

gray to gray – green.

Found: Found throughout most of the USA and Canada. In Northern Arizona;

Coconino, Navajo, and Apache counties.

Elevation: 0 -2,000 Feet.

Afghan Pine Tree

Pinus eldarica, Pine Family: ( Pinaceae ), Afghan Pine Tree. Also

called: Eldarica Pine, Desert Pine, Mondell Pine, or Elder Pine.

Eldarica pine is fast growing and does fairly well the first 5 to 10 years in

any soil that is well drained. Is drought tolerant, in fact, it is totally

intolerant of rainfall above 20 inches a year or regular irrigation from an

irrigation system. It responds well to fertilizer but too much can contribute to

the root disease problems.  Commonly sold as a living Christmas tree.

Loses lots of needles, high maintenance tree.  Identification Tips: Leaves:

Needles 4 to 6 inches long borne in bundles of 2 or rarely 3; new growth

blue-green, older growth darker green Fruit: Cones; reddish brown to brown;

borne singly or in whorls of 3 to 6; cones are ovate-conic, approximately 4

inches in length; unarmed Bark: Silvery gray and shiny when young; becoming

reddish brown; fissured and scaly on older trunks.

Height: 30 – 50 feet in height and spread of 15 – 25 feet at maturity.

Buds: Inconspicuous flowers.

Bud Time: Mid March – May.

Leaves: Needles, sheath of 2, rarely 3, longer than P. halepensis and

shorter than P. canarensis.

Bark: Medium to dark brown and with a medium heavy texture.

Cones: Cones with true cone shape, 2 to 3 1/8 inches long .

Found: Landscape.

Elevation: 200 and 1,500 Feet. A desert pine tree.

Habitat: Native of Russia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Golden Wreath Wattle

Acacia saligna Fabaceae Family ( Pea ) Golden Wreath Wattle. Also

Called Orange Wattle, Coojong, Port Jackson Willow, Blue Leaf Wattle.

A large perennial shrub or small tree to 30 feet tall, sometimes developing

a spreading crown to about 45 feet. Phyllodes to 8 inches long and up to 3/4

inch wide, occasionally bluish. Flowers are large golden balls in spring.

Spiny, many-branched, small tree with a widely spreading, flattened crown, and

fragrant yellow balls of tiny flowers. Flowers can be boiled and eaten.

Height: Up To 30 Feet Tall.

Bark: Grayish-brown, thin, smooth or scaly.

Trunk: 3 to 8 inches in diameter.

Flowers: Yellow – orange; very fragrant; including many tiny stamens

clustered in stalked balls 1/2″ in diameter; mainly in late winter and

early spring.

Blooming Time: Mid January – March or April.

Leaves: Narrow leaf-like phyllodes appearing linear; up to 8 inches long

and 3/4 inches wide, blue-green.

Seeds: Seedpods 1 1/2 – 3″ long, 3/8 – 1/2″ in diameter; a

cylindrical pod; short-pointed at ends, dark brown or black, hard; maturing in

summer, remaining attached, often opening late; many elliptical flattened shiny

brown; seeds.

Found: Statewide. Low water use landscaping plant in the Phoenix and

Tucson areas.

Elevation: Below 2,000 Feet.

Habitat: Ornamental in lower elevations or Arizona. Xeriscape Plant.

Introduced from Western Australia.

Anacacho Orchid Tree

Bauhinia lunarioides Pea Family ( Fabaceae ) Anacacho Orchid Tree.

Also Called Pata de Vaca, Orchid Tree.

Semi-evergreen to deciduous tree sometimes placed in the Caesalpiniaceae

family.  A small graceful tree which holds its leaves over the winter

(during mild winters). In the spring, white to pink orchid – like fragrant

flowers cover the tree. Flushes of blooms follow our heavy Summer or Fall rains.

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds.  Anacacho

Orchid Tree is moderately fast growing if given regular watering but it is also

tough enough to withstand extreme drought.

Height: 15 To 18 Feet Tall. Similar Spread.

Bark: Grayish-brown, thin, smooth or scaly.

Trunk: 3 to 8 inches in diameter.

Flowers: White to pink orchid – like, very fragrant.

Blooming Time: Late March – April.

Leaves: Gray – green, butterfly – shaped, leaves with 2 leaflets

connected in the middle.

Seeds: Flat dark brown seedpods.

Found: Statewide. Low water use landscaping plant in the Phoenix and

Tucson areas. It does need watering.

Elevation: Below 2,000 Feet.

Habitat: Rocky limestone canyons, needs well-drained soils. Xeriscape

Plant. Introduced from the Anacacho Mountains of Texas: Louisiana: Northeastern

Mexico (Coahuila).

Cascalote

Caesalpinia cacalaco, Pea Family: ( Fabaceae ), Cascalote;

sometimes called Mexican Poinciana.

A large irregular evergreen shrub which can be trained to become a small

deciduous tree. It may become an evergreen in warmer areas. Attracts

hummingbirds.  Spikes of solid yellow clusters on branch terminals; flowers

spikes up to 12 inches long; blooming early spring through summer.  Another

shrub – tree called Mexican Bird Of Paradise ( Caesalpinia mexicana ) looks

almost the same except it is usually a shrub.

Height: Up To 18-20 feet, they spread out about 12 feet.

Flowers: Spikes of yellow clusters on branch terminals; with flowers up

to 12 inches long.

Blooming Time: Late February – September.

Fruit: Tan pod, persistent on branches unless removed.

Stems/Trunks: Greenish stems, noticeable lenticils, spineless; a slender

trunk.

Leaves: compound leaf. alternate, round leaflets.

Found: Arizona. Native of Southern Mexico.

Elevation: 0 – 5000 Feet.

Habitat: Sandy desert washes, dry slopes and mesas to 3,000′. Also used

for xeriscape landscaping.

Feather Bush

Lysiloma microphylla v. thornberi Fabaceae Family ( Pea ) Feather

Bush. Also Called: Fern of the Desert.

Evergreen to Deciduous Tree.

Height: Up To 45 feet Tall. Most are about 25 – 30 feet tall.

Bark: Grayish-brown, thin, rough.

Trunk: 3 to 8 inches in diameter.

Flowers: Cream white; including many tiny stamens clustered in stalked

balls 1/2″ in diameter; late spring.

Blooming Time: Late April – May.

Leaves: Pinnately compound. With 6 – 8 pairs of pinnae and 20 to 35 pairs

of tiny leaflets per leaf that are each linear to oblong up to 3/16″ long.

The leaves turn golden yellow and fall off in Spring. They are quickly replaced.

Seeds: Seedpods 4 – 6 inches long.

Found: Statewide. Very common low water use landscaping plant in the

Phoenix and Tucson areas.

Elevation: 2,800 – 4,000 feet.

Habitat: Sonoran desert.

Palo Brea

Parkinsonia praecox, Used To Be Pea Family ( Leguminosae ) Now Called

( Fabaceae ) Sub – Family ( Caesalpiniaceae ), Palo Brea. Also called:

Sonoran Palo Verde, Cercidium praecox, Cercidium plurifoliolatum.

Palo Brea grows to about 25 feet tall and wide, and it has a symmetrical,

umbrella- shaped canopy. Its smooth green bark and bright yellow flowers have

made this a very popular tree in the Phoenix area. It’s leaf growth is more lush

than the other Palo Verdes. Palo Brea is more cold sensitive than the other Palo

Verdes and it is susceptible to some frost damage on new growth.  Palo Brea

prefers good drainage. It thrives in areas of lots of sun and heat retention in

the winter months. Avoid extensive pruning during the summer months.

Supplemental watering during summer.

Height: Up to 25 feet tall and 25 foot spread.

Flowers: Bright yellow with five petals, pistils may be red – brown. 4 -

5 flowers in a cluster less than 2″ long; covering the tree in spring,

sometimes again in late summer. Yellow flowers in the spring. Upper flower petal

often bears orange dots.

Blooming Time: May – June.

Stems/Trunks : About one foot in diameter. The branches and most of the

main trunk are trunk and branches blue-green becoming Gray – Brown and scaly.

There are spines beneath the leaves in blue palo verde, but not so with Foothill

Palo Verde.

Leaves: Leaves are bipinnately compound, in pairs, about 1/2in long with

leaflets of 1/4 to 1/8in; often leafless most of the year, normally each fork

bearing 1-3 pairs of smooth, tiny leaflets, that are shed in early summer. This

is in contrast to Foothills Palo Verde which usually has 4 or more tiny

leaflets.

Seed Pod: 1 1/2-3 1/4″ long; narrowly oblong, flat, thin pods;

short-pointed at ends, yellowish-brown; maturing and falling in summer; 2-8

beanlike seeds. Seeds are dark red – brown.

Seeds: Smooth hard seeds are only slightly flattened with 2 to 7 found in

each pod.

Elevation: 0 – 2,500 Feet.

Habitat: At low elevations, in low deciduous forests. Native to Central

Sonora, Mexico and Baja California, then South to Peru and Ecuador.

Chilean Mesquite

Prosopis chilensis, Bean or Legume Family ( Fabaceae ), Chilean

Mesquite.

Evergreen to Deciduous Tree.  A low-branched, broad spreading tree,

sometimes a large shrub.  The flowers are yellow-green, drooping catkins

about 2-3 inches long.  The Chilean mesquite has been widely planted in the

Southwest and readily cross pollinates with our native species. Some Chilean

mesquite trees have thorns, some do not.

Height: About 20 feet. Can reach 30 feet. Same spread.

Flowers: Pale green – yellow, 2 to 3 inches long, appearing in late

spring and early summer. Inflorescences, axillary spikes.

Blooming Time: April to June.

Stems/Trunks : An attractive gray shaggy – rough trunk; the twigs are

jointy, branches gnarled and twisted.

Leaves: The leaves are bipinnately compound in pairs, 10-29 leaflets per

pinnae and no more than two pairs of pinnae per leaf. The leaflets are about 1/8

inch apart.

Seed Pod: Brown pods; 3 – 5 inches long 1/2 inch wide.

Elevation: 0 – 5000 Feet.

Velvet Mesquite

Prosopis velutina, Bean or Legume Family ( Fabaceae ), Velvet

Mesquite.

There are three common species of mesquite; the honey mesquite (Prosopis

glandulosa), screwbean mesquite (Prosopis pubescens), and velvet mesquite. The

velvet mesquite is the largest of the mesquite species. It is a low-branched,

broad spreading thorny shrub or small tree with a well-developed crown. It can

grow as a single-trunked tree about 30 feet tall, and just as wide, with a two

feet diameter trunk.  A low-branched, broad spreading tree, sometimes a

large shrub.  Leaves grow alternately on the branch. The leaves themselves

are bipinnate, compound, about 3-6 inches long, and pointed. The leaf has two

sets of compound leaves, usually with four major leaflets and 10-20 narrow minor

leaflets 1/3 to 1/2 inch long, which grow opposite each other on the stem. The

leaves are dark to dusky green with a gray, hairy surface and paler undersides.

The flowers are yellow-green, drooping catkins about 2-3 inches long. The

flowers have bell-shaped calyces, and 5 petals. The flowers are tiny, but there

are hundreds in a catkin.  The seeds are contained in straight or slightly

curved, flat seed pods about 3-8 inches long. They grow singly, or in drooping

clusters. Seed pods are straw colored, and are covered in short, velvety hairs

when young. They mature 7-9 weeks after flowering. In Arizona they mature in

July and drop in September.

Height: About 20 feet. Can reach 30 feet.

Flowers: Pale yellow, sometimes cream colored; in a tight elongated,

showy clusters, 2 to 3 inches long, fragrant, appearing in spring and early

summer. Inflorescences, axillary spikes.

Blooming Time: April to June.

Stems/Trunks : An attractive gray shaggy – rough trunk; the twigs are

jointy, branches gnarled and twisted.

Leaves: The leaves are bipinnately compound in pairs (two sets of

compound leaves on stem), leaflets 1/3in to 1/2in long; 14 to 30 pairs of

leaflets per leaf; dark green to dusty green, slightly fuzzy texture, short gray

hairs.

Seed Pod: A slender brown pod, 3 – 9 in long 1/2in -1/4 in wide; edible,

maturing in mid to late summer.

Elevation: 0 – 5000 Feet.

Habitat: Washes, flats and canyons below 5000 feet. Creosote bush scrub,

deserts.

Chaste Tree

Vitex agnus – castus, Verbena Family ( Verbenaceae ), Chaste Tree.

Also Called: Monk’s Pepper.

A large irregular shrub or multistemmed deciduous tree, sometimes single

stemmed.  The Chaste Tree name or Monk’s Pepper, comes from the fact that

when used as tea it reduces sexual desire. Modern studies show that some of the

compounds in the leaves inhibit the production of male hormones.

Considered pool friendly. Also considered butterfly friendly. Smells Great!

Most flower types are purple but there are other colors that are a light purple

- pink.

Height: About 10 to 25 feet. Same spread.

Flowers: On purple spikes 7 to about 12 inches long, drooping from

terminal portions of branches, appearing in the late spring and early summer.

Blooming Time: April to June.

Stems/Trunks : An attractive rough trunk; multistemmed deciduous tree,

sometimes single stemmed.

Leaves: The leaves are palmately compound; with an odd number of linear

leaflets (usually 5); dark green above, lighter underneath.

Seeds: Small hard round seed, smells like pepper, dark purple when ripe.

Can hurt if stepped on barefoot.

Elevation: 0 – 2,400 Feet.

Habitat: Landscaping.

Chinese Pistache

Pistacia chinensis, Sumac Family ( Anacardiaceae ), Chinese Pistache.

A deciduous tree, growing moderately fast to slow, up to 40 to 60 feet tall,

which can also have a 40 to 60 feet spread.  It has a spectacular red,

red-orange fall color.  It has outstanding heat, drought and soil

tolerance. it is extremely pest resistant.  The Chinese Pistache is

dioecious, meaning that there are female trees and male trees. The fruits appear

on the female trees only if there are male trees in the vicinity. The fruits are

bright red at first, turning dark blue as they ripen.

Height: Up to about 50 feet. Same spread.

Flowers: Dioecious; red to green in color, the males are in tight 2 to 3

inch long clusters along last years stem, the females in lose, longer groupsof

flowers.

Blooming Time: April to May.

Stems/Trunks : An attractive rough trunk; multistemmed deciduous tree,

sometimes single stemmed.

Leaves: Pinnately-compound, 10 to 12 inches long, 10 to 12 lanceolate to

narrow ovate leaflets, with entire margins, tapering pointed tips, shiny green.

Seeds: Bright red later on turning dark blue, they are round drupes, 1/4

to 1/2 inch in diameter, in a long grape like cluster that ripens in the early

fall.

Elevation: 0 – 2,400 Feet.

Habitat: Moist, well-drained soils; however, tolerates wide range of soil

conditions. Drought tolerant. Landscaping.

Red Cap Gum: Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus erythrocorys Myrtle Family ( Myrtaceae ), Red Cap Gum:

Eucalyptus. Also Called: Illyarrie, Bookara Gum, Helmet Nut Gum.

The red cap gum Eucalyptus erythrocorys is one of Australia’s many native

gum trees, so called because of their sticky, aromatic sap. This tree gets its

name from the bright red, strawberry-colored caps, or buds, that cover of the

flower bud. The buds look like a bishop’s biretta and they fall off as the

clusters of yellow flowers appear. The redish brown, woody, seed capsules that

result from the flowers may stay on the tree for many years, until they dry out

enough to release their seeds.

Height: Up to about 25 – 30 feet. About a 20 foot spread. Fast

Growing.

Flowers: The flower may be 2 – 3 inches across with four tufts of golden

stamens at each of the “corners” and are in groups of three. The

flowers are preceded by large rectangular scarlet buds and are followed by large

helmet-shaped fruits. The stamens are in four bundles each at the corner of the

squareish flower. The flowers have a bright red operculum.

Blooming Time: Mid July to November.

Stems/Trunks : An attractive rough trunk; creamy, flaky with a few rough

patches of loose brown bark.

Leaves: Dark green, alternate, long, lance shaped, up to 10 inches long,

1 5/8 inches wide, often sickle-shaped, with a red petiole. juvenile leaves are

opposite, much shorter, wider, and hairy.

Seeds: Propagation is from dark brown seed which germinates readily.

woody and massive capsules (4 to 5 cm diameter), bell-shaped, and strongly

ridged, and the depressed center of the fruit is glossy red. The dried stamens

often persist on the maturing fruits, and fruits eventually open at the top by

way of four splits.

Elevation: 0 – 2,400 Feet.

Habitat: Native of Australa north of Perth, on undulating limestony sites

near Dongara, and also north of Kalbarri National Park. Long time used in

Arizona for landscaping. However, not common to the area. Since it commonly

grows on limestone soils it is well adapted to alkaline conditions. It responds

well to pruning.


Texas Olive

Cordia boissieri, Borage Family: ( Boraginaceae ) , Texas Olive.

Also called: Anacahuita or Wild Olive.

A deciduous, large shrub or small tree, 10 to 25 feet tall and wide. It has

single gray-green leaves up to 5 inches long and 2 inches wide.  Will take

full sun or reflected heat.  Water slightly in Phoenix. Honey bees and

bumble bees are attracted to this plant.

Height: 10 – 25 feet tall, spread 10 to 25 feet.

Flowers: Funnel-shaped, single white flowers with a yellow throat, 1 1/2

- 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

Blooming Time: Late March – April. Sometimes in the fall.

Leaves: Single, obovate, gray-green leaves up to 5 inches long and 2

inches wide. Covered with short hairs giving them a rough texture.

Seeds: Olive shaped, but unedible, yellow-green fruit, 1 inch long. with

one to four large seeds.

Found: Native of Texas and Northern Mexico.

Elevation: 1,000 to 2,500 Feet.

Habitat: Desert alkaline soil. Good Xeriscape landscaping plant.

Leatherleaf Acacia

Acacia craspedocarpa Fabaceae Family ( Pea ) Leatherleaf Acacia.

Also Called Waxleaf Acacia and Hop Mulga.

Shrub or tree to 15 feet tall, 15 feet spread; gray – green leather – like

phyllodes

Height: Up to 15 feet tall, 15 feet spread.

Bark: Grayish-brown, thin, smooth or scaly.

Trunk: 3 to 8 inches in diameter.

Flowers: Yellow – gold; very fragrant;simple, on terminal portions of

plant.

Blooming Time: Mid January – March or April.

Leaves: Thick, rounded; about 1 inch long, silvery gray; coarse and

leathery.

Seeds: Seedpods 1 1/2 – 3″ long, 3/8 – 1/2″ in diameter; a

cylindrical pod; short-pointed at ends, dark brown or black, hard; maturing in

summer, remaining attached, often opening late; many elliptical flattened shiny

brown; seeds.

Found: Statewide. Low water use landscaping plant in the Phoenix and

Tucson areas.

Elevation: Below 2,000 Feet.

Habitat: Ornamental in lower elevations or Arizona. Xeriscape Plant.

Introduced from Western Australia.


Mastic Tree

Pistacia lentiscus, Mango Family ( Anacardiaceae ) Mastic Tree. Also

Called: Evergreen Pistache.

A large dioecious, evergreen, irregular shrub, or a single to multistemmed

tree. A sweet liquorice-flavoured resin, called ‘mastic’, is obtained from

incisions made into the bark of the trunk, but not into the wood. Is is used as

a flavoring and has been found to reduce mouth bacteria.

Height: 15 to 25 feet tall, equal spread.

Bark: Grayish-brown, thin, smooth or scaly.

Trunk: 3 to 8 inches in diameter. Reddish to gray.

Flowers: Dioecious; inconspicuous flowers, in the axils of the leafs.

Blooming Time: Mid May to July.

Leaves: Pinnately compound,with 3 – 5 pairs of 1 inch leaflets; winged

petioles.

Seeds: Seedpods 1 1/2 – 3″ long, 3/8 – 1/2″ in diameter; a

cylindrical pod; short-pointed at ends, dark brown or black, hard; maturing in

summer, remaining attached, often opening late; many elliptical flattened shiny

brown; seeds.

Found: Low water use landscaping plant in the Phoenix and Tucson areas.

Elevation: Below 2,000 Feet.

Habitat: Ornamental in lower elevations or Arizona. Xeriscape Plant.

Native of Greece.

Chinese Elm Tree

Ulmus parvifolia, Elm Family: ( Ulmaceae ), Chinese Elm Tree. Also

called: Evergreen Elm and Lace Bark Elm.

The Chinese Elm is a native of China, Korea and Japan. It was introduced into

the United States. It has proven to be highly resistant to both the Dutch elm

disease and the elm leaf beetle, both of which have been highly destructive to

the native American Elm. The distinctive bark of the Chinese Elm is smooth,

mottled brown, and sheds in thin flakes, exposing orange to reddish brown inner

bark. Landscapers and gardeners have planted it successfully across the southern

United States, especially in the Pacific and Gulf regions. It survives well in

climatic extremes. Cultivators of trees plant it as an ornamental shade tree on

lawns, along streets and in parks.

Height: To 50 feet. Spread may reach 50 feet.

Flowers: Monoecious; inconspicuous, light green in small tight clusters.

Flowering Time: February – April.

Leaves: Alternate, simple, elliptical to broadly lanceolate, to 2 1/2

inches long, pinnately veined, serrate margin; base of leaf is inequilateral,

shiny dark green above and nearly glabrous, pale below.

Bark: Mottled green, gray and orange, outer pieces separated by a

red-orange (inner bark). The trunk may become fluted.

Fruit: Has a flattened, winged samara, nearly round but notched at the

top, 1/2 inch long, light reddish brown, occuring in tight clusters.

Found: Origin China, Korea and Japan.

Elevation: 850 to 1,600 Feet.

Habitat: Landscaping. Considered a Xeriscape Landscaping plant.

Live Oak Tree

Quercus virginiana, Beech Family: ( Fagaceae ), Live Oak Tree.

Live oak is a large spreading tree of the lower Coastal Plain from southeastern

Virginia to southern Florida and to southern Texas. It normally grows in low

sandy soils near the Coast but also occurs in moist rich woods and along stream

banks.  Live oak is the southern symbol of strength. It is also the state

tree of Georgia. In Georgia we can find them lining the historic streets of

Georgia’s towns. It’s reclining branches create a canopy of speckled light.

The national champion live oak was discovered in 1976 near Louisburg, Louisiana.

It had a diameter of 11.65 feet’, a height of 55 feet, and a crown spread of 132

feet.  Live oak remains foliated nearly year-round, dropping its leaves and

regenerating new growth within a few weeks during spring.

Height: 65 feet to 85 feet. Spread may reach 60 feet.

Flowers: The staminate flowers are yellow – green catkins that hang down

2 – 3 inches. The pistillate flowers are borne on spikes

Flowering Time: February – April.

Leaves: Simple, alternate, 2 inches to 5 inches long by ½ inch to 2 ½

inches wide. Narrow to broadly elliptical leaves are usually stiff and leathery.

The upper surface is shiny, dark green. The leaves are dull grayish green

underneath. The margin is smooth and slightly wavy.

Bark: Brown to reddish-brown, the bark is thick with shallow furrows and

roughly ridged, eventually becoming blocky with age.

Fruit: Acorns are ¾ inch to 1 inch long. Solitary or in clusters of

three to five nuts. Largest part of the acorn is dark brown to black and shiny.

Acorns are light brown within the cap that covers ¼ of the dark nut.

Found: Origin, native to the SE coastal plain from Virginia to Texas, and

in Cuba and isolated locales in Mexico.

Elevation: 850 to 1,600 Feet.

Habitat: Landscaping. Considered a Xeriscape Landscaping plant.

Indian Rosewood Tree

Dalbergia sissoo, Bean and Acacia Family: ( Fabaceae ) ( Leguminosae ), Indian

Rosewood Tree.Also called: Sissoo Tree, India Teakwood, Hindi- Shisham,

sissoo Bengali- shisu Tamil – Sisu, Telgu- Sinsupa.

Evergreen to semi-deciduous, large, open, and erect tree with delicate,

oval-pointed leaves, requiring a large amount of water.

Height: 30 to 50 feet, spread to 30 feet.

Flowers: Insignificant flowers, exceptionally fragrant white to yellowish

white, pea-like, to 2 cm long, nearly sessile; formed in axillary clusters.

Flowering Time: March – April.

Leaves: Leathery, pubescent when young, glabrous later; alternate, to 8

cm long, comprising 3 to 7 leaflets, broadly elliptical to obovate.

Bark: Brown to reddish-brown.

Fruit: Brown, flat, almost oblong, 1 cm long and 4 mm wide.

Found: Origin, native to India, Pakistan and Nepal.

Elevation: 850 to 1,600 Feet.

Habitat: Landscaping. Considered a Xeriscape Landscaping plant; however

it uses a great deal of water.

Coolibah

Eucalyptus microtheca Myrtle Family ( Myrtaceae ), Coolibah. Also

Called: Blue Coolibah.

Evergreen tree 18 – 60 feet high, usually crooked or irregular. The most

widely planted non-native evergreen tree in Arizona.

Height: Up to about 18 – 60 feet. About a 20 – 30 foot spread. Fast

Growing.

Flowers: The flowers are on slender stalks ending in umbels of 3 – 7

white, short stalked fragrant flowers. Flowers are very small, the bud is 4 –

6 mm long. With many stamens, spreading, white, short, 3 – 4 mm long, anthers

rounded witha small round gland. Pistil with inferior a 3 – 4-celled ovary and

stout style. Capsules short-stalked, hemiglobose or turbinate, very small, 3 –

4.5 mm long and wide.

Blooming Time: Mid July to November.

Stems/Trunks : An attractive rough trunk; creamy, flaky with a few rough

patches of loose brown bark.

Leaves: Leaves alternate, narrowly lanceolate, 6–20 cm long, 1–3 cm

wide, acuminate apically, basally acute, not entire, glabrous, slightly thick,

leathery, dull green, slightly paler underneath.

Seeds: Propagation is from dark brown seed which germinates readily.

woody and massive capsules (4 to 5 cm diameter), bell-shaped, and strongly

ridged, and the depressed center of the fruit is glossy red. The dried stamens

often persist on the maturing fruits, and fruits eventually open at the top by

way of four splits.

Elevation: 0 – 2,200 Feet.

Habitat: Native of Australa. Since it commonly grows on limestone soils

it is well adapted to alkaline conditions. It responds well to pruning.

Palo Blanco

Acacia willardiana Pea Family ( Fabaceae ), Palo Blanco. Also

Called: Willard’s Acacia, White Barked Acacia.

A slender graceful upright deciduous/evergreen tree with sparse foliage up

to 15 – 20 feet tall, 10 to 15 feet spread; peeling outer bark reveals the white

inner bark; very small leaves at the end of elongated petioles. The common name

translates into “White Stick”, describing its unique peeling white

bark.  White Barked Acacia and Palo Blanco are the two common names

associated with Acacia willardiana. There is another white-trunked legume tree

native to Baja California, Lysiloma candidum, that is also called palo blanco.

It is native to the rocky hillsides in Sonora Mexico and was recently introduced

into our southwest landscapes. Its leaves are made up of a thin 4 inch midrib

that divides to form two leaflets about 1 – 3 inches long. Each leaflet then

bears ten tiny leaflets. The canopy is almost transparent providing only the

very modest of shade. It has white to cream colored, rod shape flowers appearing

in the spring and they mature into dark brown, 3 inch to 8 inch long seed pods

over the summer.

Height: Up to about 15 – 20 feet tall, 10 to 15 feet spread. Slow

Growing.

Flowers: The flowers are catkins, rod like, 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches long,

white to cream or light yellow in color.

Blooming Time: Mid July to November.

Stems/Trunks : Foliage is almost transparent, providing very little

shade.

Leaves: Green compound leaves.

Elevation: 0 – 2,200 Feet.

Habitat: Native of Sonora Mexico.

Palo Verde

Hybrid ‘Desert Museum’

Parkinsonia aculeata, Used To Be Pea Family ( Leguminosae ) Now Called (

Fabaceae ), Palo Verde Hybrid ‘Desert Museum’

This hybrid was discovered and developed by Mark Dimmitt at the

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona.  Believed to be a natural

hybrid of Parkinsonia aculeatae, Cercidium floridum, and Cercidium microphylum,

it combines the desirable characteristics from the three parent trees.

Very popular due to its thornless characteristics.

Height: Up to 20 feet tall and 30 foot spread.

Flowers: Bright yellow with five petals, pistils may be red – brown. 4 -

5 flowers in a cluster less than 2″ long; covering the tree in spring,

sometimes again in late summer. Yellow flowers in the spring. Upper flower petal

often bears orange dots.

Blooming Time: Mid March – April and again in June through August.

Stems/Trunks : Up to about one foot in diameter. A very smooth green

thornless trunk and stems.

Leaves: Leaves are bipinnately compound, in pairs, about 1/2in long with

leaflets of 1/4 to 1/8in; often leafless most of the year, normally each fork

bearing 1-3 pairs of smooth, tiny leaflets, that are shed in early summer. This

is in contrast to Foothills Palo Verde which usually has 4 or more tiny

leaflets.

Seed Pod: Few, if any, seed pods.

Seeds: Smooth hard seeds are only slightly flattened with 2 to 7 found in

each pod.

Elevation: 0 – 2,500 Feet.

Habitat: At low elevations.

Canyon Hackberry

Celtis reticulata, Elm Family: ( Ulmaceae ), Canyon Hackberry;

sometimes called Netleaf Hackberry, Western Hackberry, Sugarberry.

Canyon Hackberry is a shrub or small tree with a spreading irregular crown.

When small it spreads in an irregular fashion. As a tree it can reach 30 feet

tall with a 30 foot spread.  Celtis reticulata is irregularly distributed

from the Chihuahuan desert on the south to the arid plains of eastern Washington

on the north. It is usually found in dry, rocky hillsides, canyons and dry

stream beds from about 2,500 feet to 6,500 feet. It has a drooping form with

twisted branches and trunks, with very densely divided branches and veined

leaves.  Netleaf Hackberry can be used to attract birds and wildlife into

the landscape.  In the lower desert it will not survive extended droughts

without irrigation.

Height: Up To 30 feet, they spread out about 30 feet.

Flowers: The color is greenish.

Blooming Time: Late February – April.

Stems/Trunks: It has a very distinctive bark.

Leaves: Bright green, simple, saw-toothed elm tree-like leaves about 2

1/2 inches long.

Found: Native from Idaho to California to Arizona. Northern Mexico.

Fruit: Birds Love It!.

Elevation: 2,500 – 6,500 Feet.

Habitat: Dry, rocky hillsides, canyons and dry stream beds. Also used for

Xeriscape landscaping.

Willow Acacia

Acacia salicina Pea Family ( Fabaceae ) Willow Acacia. Also called

Australian Willow, Broughton Willow, Native Willow, Cooba, Doolan.

Willow Acacia is a fast growing small tree which has narrow green leaves and

a weeping appearance, making it ideal for use around water features or in oasis

zones.

Height: Up To 40 feet tall, 15 – 20 feet spread.

Bark: Dark-brown and attractively marked.

Trunk: 3 to 14 inches in diameter.

Flowers: 1/2″ diameter; creamy – white to yellow balls; mainly in

late winter and early spring. Sometimes after summer monsoon rains.

Blooming Time: Early January – March or April.

Leaves: Long to 3 inches, usually gray to green or blue-green in color.

Seeds: Seedpods 3 – 4 inches long, about 1/2 inch wide.

Found: Statewide. Very common low water use landscaping plant in the

Phoenix and Tucson areas.

Elevation: Below 2,000 Feet.

Habitat: Ornamental in lower elevations or Arizona. Introduced from

Australia.

Silk Floss Tree

Chorisia speciosa, Bombax ( baobab ) Family: ( Bombaceae ), Silk Floss

Tree; sometimes called Monsa’ Floss Silk Tree, Floss Silk Tree, “Kapok

Tree”.

Silk Floss Tree, this deciduous tropical from Brazil and Argentina is a

large tree rated to over 60 feet. Floss Silk Tree is also well known for the

large spikes protecting the trunk and limbs.  It produces profuse amounts

of large pink, purple, or red flowers followed by inedible fruits. It usually

drops it’s leaves before producing its flowers. Not always in Arizona.  The

fruits are lignous ovoid pods (pear shaped capsules), filled with many seeds

embedded in silky white floss about 8 inches long, which contain bean-sized

black seeds surrounded by a mass of fibrous, fluffy matter reminiscent of cotton

or silk.  The fruits split open when they mature, releasing masses of a

white silky material.  This “cotton like” material inside the

fruit pods, although not of as good quality as kapok, has been used as stuffing

for life jackets, pillows, and thermic insulation.  Soft branches are known

to break in strong winds.

Height: Up To 60 feet, they spread out about 50 feet.

Flowers: Large pink, purple, or red flowers about 8 – 9 inches in

diameter.

Blooming Time: Late September – Mid October.

Fruit: Lignous ovoid pods, about 8 inches long, which contain bean-sized

black seeds.

Stems/Trunks: Thick trunk with large spikes protecting the trunk and

limbs.

Leaves: Pale green leaves palmately divided into 5 – 7 pointed leaflets.

Found: Arizona. Native of Brazil and Argentina.

Elevation: 0 – 1,600 Feet.

Habitat: Used for xeriscape landscaping.

Mulga Acacia

Acacia aneura, Pea Family ( Fabaceae ) Mulga Acacia. Also called

River Coobah in Eastern Australia.

Useful decoration near swimming pool.

Height: Up To 20 feet tall, 10 – 14 feet spread.

Bark: Redish-brown, finely furrowed bark.

Trunk: 3 to 14 inches in diameter.

Flowers: Golden yellow rod – shaped and puffy, 1 inch long; 1/8 – 1/4

inch diameter, bloom in spring.

Blooming Time: March or April.

Leaves: Long, linear, to 3 inches long, silver gray in color.

Seeds: Seedpods, flat oblong, reddish or brown, 1 1/2 inch long .

Found: Statewide. Low water use landscaping plant in the Phoenix and

Tucson areas.

Elevation: Below 2,000 Feet.

Habitat: Ornamental in lower elevations or Arizona. Introduced from

Australia.

Blackbrush Acacia

Acacia rigidula Fabaceae Family ( Pea ) Blackbrush Acacia. Also

called: Chaparro Prieto, Blackbrush Chaparro, Gavia.

This thorny little tree or shrub possess white to light-yellow flowers that

appear in cylindrical spikes; they can be so abundant that they literally

dominate the branch. The leaves are alternate and compound, with two to four

(rarely five) pairs of leaflets, and they possess straight spines. Most people,

as well as bees, appreciate these lovely shrubs when flowering; they make

especially good honey.  Blackbrush is usually a muli-stemmed shrub or tree

with numerous thorny branches sprouting from the base. It possess white to

light-yellow flowers that appear in cylindrical spikes. It grows typically from

three to fifteen feet high.

Acacia rigidula (Black Bush Acacia) is a deciduous tree, native to western

and southern Texas and a several northeastern Mexican states. In natural setting

it is typically found on rocky hillsides and along canyon floors at elevations

from 1100 to 1800 feet above sea level. It occurs as scattered individual plant

and in clumps or thickets. Under natural growing conditions the tree matures to

about 10 to 15 feet tall and as wide but will likely grow larger in landscape

settings.  The unique charm of this tree, besides its modest statue, is its

dark green, glossy, foliage, which is borne on stiff, densely packed, gray

barked branches. Black Bush is an excellent screen, barrier, or foundation

plant, or as a backdrop for other flowering plants or for erosion control.

Specimens can be left as a large mounding shrub or pruned to a sculptural tree

form that accents the contrast between green leaves and gray bark.  It is

slow growing; needs good drainage, tolerates a wide range of soils; low water

use, and full sun, it is hardy to 20°.  Often people confuse this tree

with a mimosa. Acacias and mimosas are often so similar they are difficult to

tell apart. But the key difference is in the flowers themselves: acacia flowers

possess numerous (20-100) stamens, while mimosas possess 10 to fewer stamens per

flower. And mimosa fruits (pods) are flattened and somewhat contorted.

Height: Normally, 3 To 20 feet tall; up to 18 feet wide.

Bark: Grayish-brown, thin, smooth or scaly.

Trunk: 3 to 10 inches in diameter.

Twigs: Stiff, densely packed, gray barked branches.

Flowers: Yellow to cream colored, very fragrant flowers arranged in 2 to

3 inch long, slender spikes.

Blooming Time: Early March to mid – June.

Leaves: Alternate and compound, with two to four (rarely five) pairs of

leaflets, and they possess straight spines.

Seeds: Slender pods about 3 inches long, dark brown or black, hard.

Found: Native to West and South Texas; and Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and

Chihuahua in Northern Mexico.

Elevation: Below 1,800 Feet. Said to live up to 4,500 feet.

Habitat: Ornamental in lower elevations or Arizona. Excellent for

xeriscape landscaping.

Tenaza Prieto Acacia

Acacia schaffneri Pea Family ( Fabaceae ) ( Leguminosae ) Tenaza

Prieto Acacia: Also called; Twisted Acacia, Huizache Chino, Medusa Acacia,

Shaffner’s Acacia.

Acacia schaffneri (Twisted Acacia) is native to Mexico and south Texas. It

has a branching structure with a twisting pattern within the tree branches. The

leaves are very small, fine fern like with straight 1/2 to 1 inch reddish

thorns.  In spring it has yellow fragrant ball flowers along the branching

structure. A young tree will need selective structural pruning until

established.  Twisted Acacia spreads thorny branches low to the ground.

Birds and small mammals use Twisted Acacia as a canopy for nesting roosting and

protection. Other common uses include xeriscape landscaping.

Height: Up To 15 – 25 feet tall and 25 feet wide.

Bark: Gray brown bark with a few small prickles.

Trunk: 3 to 8 inches in diameter.

Flowers: Yellow, ball-shaped flowers, up to 2/5 inches in diameter, very

fragrant.

Blooming Time: March – April.

Leaves: Grayish green, fern-like, bipinnately compound leaves, 4 to 6

inches long, with 6 to 10 pairs of pinnae, 30 to 40 very small leaflets.

Seeds: 4 to 5 inch long hard, flat, velvety, brown seedpods

Found: Mainly in the Chihuahuan desert: USA (Texas, southeastern New

Mexico), into Oaxaca Mexico. A low water use landscaping plant in the Phoenix

and Tucson areas.

Elevation: 1,000 to 3,000 Feet.

Habitat: Ornamental in lower elevations or Arizona. Introduced from Texas

and Mexico.

Tenaza

Havardia pallens; Used to be: Pithecellobium pallens, Pea Family (

Fabaceae ) ( Leguminosae ) Tenaza: Also called; Apes – Earring, Huajillo,

Guajilla, Mimosa bush.

Airy leaflets create light shade; when in full bloom, fluffy white flowers

release a wonderful sweet fragrance.  This plant is attractive to bees,

butterflies and/or birds.

Height: Up To 10 – 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide.

Bark: Brown – gray, smooth; with paired, straight spines.

Trunk: 3 to 8 inches in diameter.

Flowers: White, ball-shaped flowers, up to 1 inches in diameter, very

fragrant.

Blooming Time: March – April.

Leaves: Grayish green, fern-like, bi-pinnately compound leaves, 4 to 6

inches long, with 6 to 10 pairs of pinnae, 30 to 40 very small leaflets.

Seeds: 4 to 5 inch long straight, flat, velvety, brown seedpods

Found: Mexico. A low water use landscaping plant in the Phoenix and

Tucson areas.

Elevation: 1,000 to 3,000 Feet.

Habitat: Ornamental in lower elevations or Arizona. Introduced from Texas

and Mexico.

Texas Honey Mesquite

Prosopis glandulosa v. glandulosa, Bean or Legume Family ( Fabaceae

), Texas Honey Mesquite.

Texas Honey Mesquite is a spiny deciduous tree that grows at a moderate rate

to 20 or 50 feet. It has a spread to about 30 feet. Bright green shiny leaves,

fine textured. Branches often droop near the tips. In spring, drooping tassels

of creamy white flowers appear, followed by seed pods 3 to 9 inches in length.

The Texas Honey Mesquite attracts a variety of desert wild life. Since it is a

dense multi-branched shrub or small tree, the underbrush provides refuge for

small desert mammals. Our desert rabbits will chew up the seed pods that fall to

the ground by the end of summer, and the birds seek out the seeds. The edible

pods taste similar to carob pods.

Height: About 20 feet. Can reach 30 feet. Same spread.

Flowers: Pale green – yellow, 2 to 3 inches long, appearing in late

spring and early summer. Inflorescences, axillary spikes. Racemes spiciform

about 2 – 5 1/2 cm long, multiflorous; with the petals 1/32 – 1/16 inch

long; ovary stipilate, villous.

Blooming Time: April to June.

Stems/Trunks : An attractive gray shaggy – rough trunk; the twigs are

jointy, branches gnarled and twisted.

Leaves: The leaves glabrous, uni- or bijugate; petiole (with rachis when

extant) 3/4 – 6 inches long; pinnae 2 1/4 – 6 1/2 inches long; leaflets 6 to

17 pairs, about 1/4 – 3/4 inch distant on the rachis, either linear or oblong,

obtuse, glabrous, subcoriaceous, prominently veined below, with the costa often

of lighter color, 3/4 – 2 3/4 inches long by 1/32 1/4 inch wide, usually 5 to

15 times as long as broad.

Seed Pod: Brown pods; 3 – 9 inches long 1/2 inch wide.

Elevation: 0 – 5000 Feet.

Habitat: Deserts. Landscaping.

Kidneywood

Eysenhardtia polystachya Fabaceae Family ( Pea ) Kidneywood. Also

called: Kidney Wood or Palo Dulce.

A deciduous; delicate tree-shrub with fragrant white flowers.  Kidney

wood or palo dulce (Eysenhardtia polystachya) is a deciduous; delicate

tree-shrub with fragrant white flowers.  A Kidneywood is in the Arizona

Registery Of Big Trees in the Coyote Mountains Wilderness that is 21 feet tall

and 25 feet wide.

Height: Normally, 3 To 20 feet tall; up to 18 feet wide.

Bark: Grayish-brown, thin, smooth or scaly.

Trunk: 3 to 10 inches in diameter.

Twigs: Stiff, densely packed, gray barked branches.

Flowers: Yellow to cream colored, very fragrant flowers arranged in 2 to

3 inch long, slender spikes.

Blooming Time: Early March to mid – June.

Leaves: Alternate and compound, with two to four (rarely five) pairs of

leaflets, and they possess straight spines.

Seeds: Slender pods about 3 inches long, dark brown or black, hard.

Found: Native to Sierra Madre Occidental of Eastern Sonora, Mexico.

Elevation: Below 1,800 Feet. Said to live up to 4,500 feet.

Habitat: Ornamental in lower elevations or Arizona. Excellent for

xeriscape landscaping.

African Sumac Tree

Rhus lancea, Cashew Family: ( Anacardiaceae ), African Sumac Tree.

The African sumac is a small, slow growing, evergreen tree from South Africa

with long slender leaves and multiple trunks. Has spreading habit with weeping

branches. It is dioecious, only the female trees carry the fruits.  It goes

by the name Karee. Many tiny green flowers are borne in many- flowered panicles

and they lack showy petals. Pollination is affected mostly by the wind, much to

the chagrin of allergy sufferers. A sweet perfume is released into the air by

these flowers.  Some people may develop dermatitis upon contact with the

skin. Even the pollen may harm some people.  These trees produce viable

seed and volunteers can often be found growing in hedgerows and in desert washes

near urban environments. Potentially this could allow African Sumac to become

another unwanted exotic invasive in native Sonoran Desert habitat.  The

fruit is edible, and has been used to make a beer.  Sensitive to Texas root

rot.  Moderate maintenance with seed and flower drop on the female trees.

Constant removal of basal suckers. Yearly thinning required.

Height: To 24 feet. Spread may reach 24+ feet.

Flowers: 6 inch long panicles (clusters) of inconspicuous Whitish – green

flowers in sprays.

Flowering Time: Mid January – February.

Leaves: Hairless, palmate compound, shiny, dark green, leaves with three

lance-shaped leaflets, 2 to 4 inches long .

Bark: Gray to light brown furrowed into narrow, firm ridges and darkens

with age. Showing orange underlayer.

Fruit: Covered with a thin glossy brownish layer when ripe. Inside is a

black seed..

Found: Native of Southern Africa. Now found in tropical and subtropical

parts of the world, including USA.

Elevation: 850 to 1,600 Feet.

Habitat: Landscaping.

California Pepper Tree

Schinus molle, Cashew Family: ( Anacardiaceae ), California Pepper

Tree.Also called: Brazilian peppertree, Peruvian peppertree, aroeira,

aroeira salsa, escobilla, Peruvian mastic tree, mastic-tree, aguaribay, American

pepper, anacahuita, castilla, false pepper, gualeguay, Jesuit’s balsam, molle

del Peru, mulli, pepper tree, pimentero, pimientillo, pirul.

Brazilian peppertree is a shrubby tree with narrow, spiky leaves. It grows 12 to

36 feet tall, with a trunk 9 to 18 inches in diameter. In the summer it produces

an abundance of small flowers formed in panicles that bear a great many small,

flesh-colored, berry-like fruits in December and January. It is native to South

and Central America and can also be found in the semitropical and tropical

regions of the United States and Africa. In both North and South America, there

are three different trees – Schinus molle, Schinus aroeira, and Schinus

terebinthifolius – all of which are interchangeably called

“peppertrees.”  California Pepper Tree is a small bushy evergreen

tree or large shrub with compound leaves and shiny red berrys. They are added to

Chilean wines; and are dried and ground up for a pepper substitute in the

tropics.  It is in the same family as Poison Ivy.  Older trees develop

characteristically burled trunks and branches.  Drought-tolerant; suitable

for xeriscaping.

Be sure to plant California Pepper Tree away from paving, near house

foundations, patio paving or entrances, in lawns, or near sewers and drains;

because its roots crawl along near the surface and can cause destruction. Their

leaves look bright green and healthy even under drought conditions, but what

really happens is that while the leaves stay green, their branches may hollow

out and when the wind comes the branches snap off.

Height: 12 To 36 feet. Spread may reach 40 feet.

Flowers: 6 inch long panicles (clusters) of tiny yellow – white flowers.

Flowering Time: June – August.

Leaves: Pinnate odd, 3 to 13 leaflets ( usually 7 ), leaves are 5 – 8

inches long, each of the 3 – 13 ( usually 7 ) leaflets are 1 – 2 inches long.

Single tip leaflet.

Bark: Light brown and rough but becomes furrowed into narrow, firm ridges

and darkens with age.

Fruit: Pink to red berry like drupes.

Found: Origin Peru. Found in South and Central America, Tropical and

subtropical parts of the world, including USA.

Elevation: 850 to 1,600 Feet.

Habitat: Landscaping.

Aleppo Pine Tree

Pinus halepensis, Pine Family: ( Pinaceae ), Aleppo Pine Tree.

Also called: Mediterranean Pine, Jerusalem Pine.

The Greeks traditionally cut down an Aleppo pine every year, decorating it

with flowers and ribbons in honor of the god Attis. This custom is believed to

have been adopted by the Europeans in honor of Christ, making the Aleppo the

first Christmas tree.  While it is a two-needled pine with short, thin

needles and small cones, each about 3 inches long. Bunches of three needles are

not uncommon.  The Aleppo Pine has ancient associations with human culture;

it was the source of a resin used in Egypt for embalming and is referred to in

the Bible under the name fir.

Height: 70 feet in height and 20-40 feet in diameter at maturity.

Buds: Monoecious; males cylindrical, in a tight cluster at the branch

tips; females small, red – purple with loose scales at branch tips.

Bud Time: Mid March – May.

Leaves: Evergreen, Short needles, 2 – 3 inches long, usually 2 per

bundle, fine appearance.

Bark: Light gray and smooth when young, turning red – brown and furrowed,

with rounded scaly ridges..

Cones: 3 – 5 inches long, rounded, oval or oblong in shape.

Found: Mediterranean.

Elevation: 0 and 3,000 Feet.

Habitat: Widely distributed in western North America, most often

occurring in extensive pure stands.

Canary Island Pine Tree

Pinus canariensis, Pine Family: ( Pinaceae ), Canary Island Pine

Tree.

An evergreen, conifer tree. Fast growth rate, 50 – 80′ in height, 30′

spread. pyramidal in shape. Bluish-green needles in threes, 9 – 12″ long.

One of the oldest pines grown in the Phoenix, Yuma, and Tucson areas.  In

the Canary Islands Archipelago it is a pine tree which sometimes reaches great

dimensions; there are some plants up to 192 feet tall with trunks over seven

feets in diameter. It has needle-shaped leaves, sometimes light green, up to 12

inches long, arranged in clusters of three. The upright trunk has grey bark,

with grey-reddish plates. The “Canary Islands’ pine-tree” is an

endemic plant of the archipelago, but it is wild only in Tenerife, La Palma,

Gran Canaria and Hierro.  Resistant to oak root fungus.

Height: 50 – 80 feet with spread of 30 feet at maturity.

Buds: Monoecious, tiny beige male flower appears on branch tips.

Bud Time: Mid March – May.

Leaves: Fine needles, to 12 inch long, weeping form, in bundles of 3,

bluish when young. Longer needles than Pinus halepensis or P. elderica.

Bark: Red, dark brown, thick flat-furrowed.

Cones: Cones with true cone shape, glossy brown in color, 4 -9 inches

long.

Found: Landscape.

Elevation: 200 and 1,500 Feet. A desert pine tree.

Habitat: Native Canary Island.

 

Canary Island Date Palm

Phoenix canariensis, Palm Family ( Palmae ) ( Arecaceae ), Canary

Island Date Palm: Also Called Pineapple Palm, Canary Palm.

Massive and imposing, the Canary Island Date Palm or Pineapple Date Palm is

the center of attention wherever it is planted. Growing up to 60′ tall, the

thick, hulking trunk is covered with interesting diamond designs that mark the

point of attachment of the leaves. The massive trunk supports a huge crown of

over 50 huge arching pinnate leaves that may reach 18 feet long. These leaves

are deep green shading to a yellow stem where the leaflets are replaced by

vicious spines.  The orange colored dates are formed on drooping, highly

branched infloresences and are very decorative. They are edible but not very

tasty.  Phoenix canariensis is native to the Canary Islands which are

located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Northeast Africa. These stately

palms are popular landscape items in near frost-free climates around the world.

They are grown all along the Gulf of Mexico coastline. They are planted in warm

areas of the western U.S. including Arizona, California and Nevada.  This

palm is very slow growing when young. Once the trunk reaches it’s full diameter

the growth rate increases. You should fertilize it in the spring and summer.

We do not recommend this palm tree for residences unless you have a really BIG

yard  (which they decorate very nicely!) This palm is best used along

boulevards, on campuses and in parks and grouped in trios to form focal points

in cityscapes.

Height: Up to 60 feet tall. Frond spread of 20 – 40 feet.

Flowers: Dioecious; on dense, hanging many-branched 1 foot long clusters,

creamy yellow – white, opening from a husk-like structure, appearing

periodically throughout the year.

Blooming Time: Southern Arizona, March – April. Phoenix Area, April -

May.

Fruit & Seeds: A fleshy drupe, elliptical, 1/2 to 1 inch long, orange

- brown to dark purple, date – like, occuring in up to 18 inch hanging clusters,

they ripen in the summer and are considered edible. Taste terrible.

Leaves: Alternate, pinnately compound, up to 20 feet long, arching

gracefully; the individual leaflets are lance – shaped, 12 to 18 inches long,

lower half of the petiole is covered with 2 – 3 inch sharp spines, shiny dark

green above, feathery.

Found: Native to Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina in South

America. Found throughout Arizona at lower elevations.

Elevation: 0 – 2,600 Feet.

Habitat: Lower elevations where water is available. It grows well in

sand, sandy loam, clay and other heavy soils. It needs good drainage and

aeration. It is remarkably tolerant of alkali.

Queen Palm

Queen Palm, Palm Family ( Palmae ) ( Arecaceae ), Queen Palm.

The queen palm really does strike a regal pose in the landscape. Growing to

maximum height of about 50 feet, this plam has a smooth straight grey trunk

ringed with evenly spaced leaf scars and topped with a large canopy of feathery

plumes. These lacy fronds are a dark glossy green and have double rows of

leaflets. These droop to the ground like double rows of fringe to cast shady

patterns on the lawn. Informal groupings of three or more queens provides soft

filtered sunlight perfect for shade gardens.  During the summer season the

queen decks herself out with impressive inflorescences (flower structures -

photo at left). In early winter she takes on a sporty look when huge amounts of

fruit appear. Bright orange 1 inch oval “dates” hang in impressive 6′

bunches creating a colorful show. The party’s over though when they fall to the

ground creating sticky piles of rotting fruit that attract disagreeable insects.

On the up side, volunteer seedling palms often grow from the mess if undisturbed.

Queen palm is tolerant but prefers enriched sandy soils. Fertilize twice a year

in spring and summer with a fertilizer that contains micronutrients, especially

manganese. A deficiency of this micronutrient results in a condition called

“frizzle top” which causes leaves to look frayed and torn. This

condition can be corrected by spreading a 1 to 3 pounds of manganese sulphate

beneath the palm (amount depends on the size of the tree). With that said; once

the condition has shown itself, the likelihood of recovery is minimal.

Native to Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina in South America.  Queen

palm is a beautiful palm that is inexpensive, easy to find and easy to grow.

With a little care a small plant will make a dramatic specimen within a few

years.

Height: Up to 50 ft.

Flowers: Its flowers, unisexual on dioecious plants, are small, whitish,

fragrant, clustered in axillary spadices up to 120 cm long markedly bent

downwards by their fruit weight.

Blooming Time: Southern Arizona, March – April. Phoenix Area, April -

May.

Fruit & Seeds: Yellow orange when ripe. Up to 1 inch long. ovoid in

shape.

Leaves: The leaves are pinnate, 7 to 15 plumose leaves with 150 to 200

leaflets, 10 to 15 feet long .

Found: Native to Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina in South

America. Found throughout Arizona at lower elevations.

Elevation: 0 – 1,600 Feet.

Habitat: Lower elevations where water is available. It grows well in

sand, sandy loam, clay and other heavy soils. It needs good drainage and

aeration. It is remarkably tolerant of alkali.

Bismark Palm

Bismarckia nobilis, Palm Family ( Palmae ) ( Arecaceae ), Bismark

Palm.

A spectacular tropical fan palm with a stout trunk and massive blue-grey fan

leaves up to nine feet across. There is also a green leaved form. It is very

sensitive to transplanting, but root pruning will help avoid shock to the plant.

This massive tropical palm commands attention and demands respect wherever it is

grown. It grows a single smooth trunk on mature specimens but the younger plants

retain their old leaf bases. This palm may reach aheight of 50 – 60 feet and a

spread of 20 feet or more. The young specimens that have yet to form a trunk

show off their full crowns of about 25 leaves very quickly! The huge palmate

leaves are bright light blue, waxy and are up to 10 feet across. They are

supported on 6 foot stems that can be as much as 10 inches in diameter. The leaf

bases will split where they attach to the trunk and the leaf stems are have

small sharp teeth.  Bismarck Palm is adaptable to many kinds of soil and it

prefers full sun but is tolerant of some shade. Once established it is drought

tolerant.  Because of its huge size and mass, the Bismarck palm is not

recommended for small yards. It is best planted where it can be the focal point

of the landscaping.  Bismarckia nobilis is the only species in the genus

and it is a relatively recent introduction to Arizona landscapes. Bismarck palm

is rapidly becoming popular since it is not only spectacular but it is drought

tolerant and not as subject to disease and nutritional deficiencies as most

other landscape palm species are.  It is named after Otto von Bismarck,

former chancellor of Germany. It is one of the most common palms in Madagascar.

This palm is a difficult tree to transplant, so use care when pruning not to

damage the lower trunk or roots.

Height: Up to 50 – 60 feet tall.

Flowers: Its flowers, unisexual on dioecious plants, are small, whitish,

fragrant, clustered in axillary spadices up to 3 feet long markedly bent

downwards by their fruit weight.

Blooming Time: Southern Arizona, March – April. Phoenix Area, April -

May.

Fruit & Seeds: The fruits, round or oblong blue fruits that are about

1/2 inch in diameter.

Leaves: The leaves are blue-grey fan leaves up to nine feet across.

Found: Native to Central Madagascan grasslands.

Elevation: 0 – 1,600 Feet.

Habitat: Lower elevations where water is available. It grows well in

sand, sandy loam, clay and other heavy soils. It needs good drainage and

aeration. A sunny, warm, and well drained position. Drought, and frost tolerant.

Italian Cypress Tree

Cupressus sempervirens, Cypress Family ( Cupressaceae ), Italian

Cypress Tree. Also called: Mediterranean Cypress.

A remarkably tall, slender, evergreen, almost pencil-shaped tree. Height can

reach 110 feet; spread is seldom more than 8 foot. The foliage is needle-like

and dark green at all times of year. Cones develop in climates that have a cold

winter.  Cupressus sempervirens has a conic crown with level branches and

variably pendulous branchlets. It is very long-lived, with some trees having

been reported to be over 1,000 years old.  The foliage grows in dense

juniper like sprays, dark green in color. The leaves are scale-like, 3/4 ”

to 2 ” long, and produced on rounded (not flattened) shoots. The seed cones

are ovoid to oblong in form, 1 1/4 ” to 1 3/4 ” long, with 10-14

scales, green at first, maturing brown in color, about 20-24 months after

pollination. The male cones are 3-5 mm long, and release pollen in

February-March.  It has a single gray trunk. It grows well in any well

drained soil in full sun. It is used as a background plant, tall border, a

screen or a specimen tree for formal gardens. It can also be used as a

windbreak.

Height: Usually to 80 feet, with 1/10th spread. Can reach 110 feet in

some areas.

Flowers: Inconspicuous.

Blooming Time: Southern Arizona, March – April. Phoenix Area, April -

May.

Fruit & Seeds: 1.5 inch across; round, brown cones.

Leaves: The leaves are oval 1- to 3-inch gray-green leaves attached to

gray branches.

Found: Native of Southern Europe and Western Asia.

Elevation: 0 – 2000 Feet.

Habitat: Lower elevations where water is available. Likes fertile soil

with good drainage. Very little unkeep is needed.

Sago Palm Tree

Cycas revoluta, Cycad Family: ( Cycadaceae ), Sago Palm Tree.

Also called: Japanese Sago Palm, or Funeral Palm.  |

The Cycads are a group of plants that trace their origins back directly to

plants that once thrived on the earth at the time of the dinosaurs. As such,

they retain characteristics that are considered primitive when compared to the

other living plants on the earth today.  Cycas revoluta, or Sago Palm, is a

dioecious palm-like tree slowly forming hulking trunk to 12 feet or more high,

requiring about 50 years to achieve this height. It is usually a solitary plant

but sometimes it is branched, topped by a terminal crown of stiff, dark green,

feathery pinnate frons 3 to 6 feet long. The feathery leaflets are spine-tipped

and rolled at their margins; the petal – less flowers are in terminal clusters

of brown – wooly carpels, in the female trees containing the orange to red -

brown fruit, covering the nut – like poisonous seeds.  The very distinctive

leaves grow to about 4 – 5 feet in length and are about 9 inches in width. The

leaves are pinnate and are composed of a rigid midrib with glossy leaflets

arranged in a plane along its length. These leaflets are revolute which means

that they curl under along their edge, thus, the plant’s species name (C.

revoluta).  The sago is considered the most attractive when it’s new leaves

appear in the late spring or early summer. The leaves emerge as light green

spikes, that are arranged in a circle around the perimeter of the trunk. The

leaves slowly uncoil to the final length of the leaf. Then, the individual

leaflets unravel away from the midrib and the entire column of new leaves forms

a rosette just above the existing crown of leaves.

While in nature, the trunks will reach about 10 to 12 feet in height, if

grown in containers, they stay relatively small. They are very slow growers,

which make them great for Bonsai projects. They are hardy in USDA zones 9 – 12.

If left in containers, they will very rarely produce cones. In nature they

“bloom” in the spring.  The Sago Palm is dioecious, meaning that

each plant has either male or female cones (the reproductive part of a cycad).

Sexuality in cycads is apparently controlled by sex chromosomes (unlike most of

the higher plants). The male cones protrude and are shaped like a cone. It can

grow to be 12 – 18 inches in length. The female cones are “lettace”

shaped and are gold to a yellow brown in color. The female cone will slowly open

when receptive to the pollen. The bright orange to red seeds are about 1 – 1 1/2

inch in diameter.  As the plant matures, a branching of the thick stem may

occur, which adds to the charm of this plant. Sago Palm also can produce suckers

at its base forming a large multi-stem clump over time.  You should plant

Sago Palm in sandy, fast draining soil, preferably with some organic matter. It

is also recommended to use a light mulch of bark or leaf mold. You should

provide light feedings of balanced, slow release fertilizer granules or diluted

liquid fertilizers. You should avoid strong fertilizers, such as fresh manure

since they can damage the Sago Palm’s coralloid roots (the specialized

structures that host the blue-green algae that fix nitrogen from the air and

make it available to the plant).  Sago Palm does best in bright areas

including full sun. The Sago can also handle full shade with no ill effect but,

its leaves grow larger in the shade.  The Sago Palm needs good drainage or

it will rot. The Sago is drought resistant when mature. You must provide

adequate amounts of moisture for good growth.

Height: 10 – 12 feet.

Flowers: Cycads are dioecious; the male has microsporophylls or

“little-spore leaves” that produce pollen arranged in a strobilus, a

bright yellow cone and the female has megasporophylls or “big-spore

leaves” that produce ovules. These appear as fuzzy yellow-brown distorted

leaves and bear the seeds along the leaf edges.

Flowering Time: February – April.

Leaves: Alternate, simple, ovate, 1 1/2 – 3 inches long, serrated margin,

deep reddish purple color, some are dark shiny green; paler below with some hair

in axils of the veins.

Bark: Thin, reddish brown to dark gray and smooth.

Fruit: The seed of Cycas revoluta is covered with a fuzzy, bright orange,

fleshy sarcotesta about 1 inch in diameter, with flattened, bright red seeds.

Found: Origin: Southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia.

Elevation: 0 to 2,000 Feet.

Pecan Tree

Carya illinoensis, Walnut Family: ( Juglandaceae ), Pecan Tree. 

 

Pecans are large, long-lived trees with upright, vase-shaped crowns. Pecans

are the largest orchard trees in the USA, reaching 60 – 80 feet tall. The leaves

are odd-pinnately compound, with generally 7 to 17 leaflets. Leaflets are

lanceolate to obovate, with the proximal half of the blade generally smaller

than the distal half (asymmetrical); margins serrate.Pecans, walnuts, and many

other nut crops are wind pollinated, and the pollen may travel for miles on a

strong wind. When given sufficient space to grow, the pecan can grow to about

100 or 120 feet, making a large deciduous tree with an upright, vase-shaped

crown. The trunk diameter can reach 3 to 4 feet. It tends to have a relatively

short, bare trunk before its many forked branches appear. The national champion

pecan resides in Weatherford, Texas, boasting a height of 91 feet, a crown

spread of 120 feet, and a circumference of 257 inches.  Pecans need deep,

well-drained soil with a good steady source of water. A mature pecan can require

more than 2,000 gallons of water a week. The soil must drain well for the tree

to thrive.

Pecans have dark yellow-green leaves that are smooth to slightly hairy on

top. The color pales slightly on the underside. The alternate, compound leaves

are in clusters 12 to 20 inches long with nine to 17 leaflets that are 3 to 8

inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide. The tree’s flower goes unnoticed by most

people. That’s because the female flower is a small terminal spike on the end of

the current season’s growth. The pollen needed to turn these flowers into pecan

nuts comes from the male flowers or “catkins,” 5- to 6-inch pendulous

spikes growing laterally on year-old wood.  The pecan makes a wonderful

shade tree in any home landscape that’s situated in zones 6 through 9 and is

large enough to accommodate the tree. The newer pecan varieties produce what are

called “papershell” pecans-a thin shell you can break with your

fingers and that contains nut meat much larger than that from native trees.

Most varieties grown for home use begin to produce some nuts in about three

years. Most produce well in 4 to 6 years. Once established, a tree will average

about 20 pounds of pecans per year, but with good management and growing

conditions that can increase to 70 or 100 pounds per tree.  Plant and care

for your pecan in the same manner that you would any large shade tree. The

biggest mistake homeowners make is not giving the tree enough room. In a yard,

pecans should be planted at least 60 to 80 feet from any other tree or

structure. Its massive root system reaches out a good distance past its drip

line.

Pecans require well over 200 frost-free days for nuts to reach maturity,

therefore, pecan production in the United States is pretty much restricted to

the southern states, Arizona, and California.  Pecans are usually harvested

from mid-October through November when the shuck loosens from the shell or

splits. The trees in commercial production are harvested with trunk or limb

shakers that literally shake the nuts off the tree.

Height: 60 – 80 feet. Some can reach 120 feet. Spread may reach 50

feet.

Flowers: Monoecious; the female flower is a small terminal spike on the

end of the current season’s growth. Male flowers or “catkins,” are 5

to 6 inch pendulous spikes growing laterally on year-old wood.

Flowering Time: February – April.

Leaves: Alternate, compound leaves in clusters 12 to 20 inches long with

9 to 17 leaflets that are 3 to 8 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide.

Bark: Red – brown with shallow, irregular furrows.

Fruit: 1 to 2 inches long, with a large embryo composed mostly of two

very tasty kernels separated by a thin, papery central plate.

Found: Origin: USA.

Elevation: 0 to 3,500 Feet.

Shoestring Acacia

Acacia stenophylla Pea Family ( Fabaceae ) Shoestring Acacia. Also

called River Coobah in Eastern Australia.

A medium sized tree 15 -40′, with long, narrow, pendulous leaves and yellow

flowers. Seed pod is most attractive hanging from tree like a string of beads.

Tolerant of extended dry periods & frost. Grows well in medium or heavy

soils and tolerates waterlogging for short periods. Prefers full sun or partial

shade. Excellent for large gardens and parks. Good shelter and shade tree for

stock. Hard, close grained wood is suitable for making furniture.  Useful

decoration near swimming pool.  Botanists can not agree as to which family

it belongs. Some say it is of the a member of the Mimosa family and may be a

native of Africa

Height: Up To 40 feet tall, 20 – 30 feet spread.

Bark: Redish-brown, finely furrowed bark.

Trunk: 3 to 14 inches in diameter.

Flowers: 1/2″ diameter; creamy – white balls; mainly in late winter

and early spring.

Blooming Time: Early January – March or April.

Leaves: Long, usually dull green in color.

Seeds: Seedpods .

Found: Statewide. Very common low water use landscaping plant in the

Phoenix and Tucson areas.

Elevation: Below 2,000 Feet.

Habitat: Ornamental in lower elevations or Arizona. Introduced from

Australia.

Bottle Tree

Brachychiton populneus, Kurrajong Family: ( Sterculiaceae ), Bottle

Tree.

An evergreen with a pyramidal shape when young. As it ages its overall shape is

narrow growing wider with age. It has very dense foliage.  When young the

base of the trunk has a bottle shape, thus the name.  It has a dark brown

hard woody seed pod about 3 – 4 inches by 1 inch, containing round yellow seeds;

the hairs on the seed will cause itching. The hairs have been used as itching

powder. The seeds drop out by January leaving an interesting boat shaped brown

pod. Some people collect the pods and paint them for Christmas ornaments.

This is an old time landscaping plant in Arizona.

Height: 35 to 60 feet. Spread may reach 30+ feet.

Flowers: White or cream with a bell shapes. The inner flower tube is

streaked purple – brown to pink.

Flowering Time: April – May.

Leaves: Simple; often lancolate with a large variation of margin type,

sometimes lobed; 2 – 3 inches long; glossy green in color.

Bark: Thin, green when young, changing to gray and smooth as it ages.

Fruit: Has a dark brown hard woody seed pod about 3 – 4 inches by 1 inch,

containing round yellow seeds; the hairs on the seed will cause itching.

Found: Origin: Australia.

Elevation: 0 to 2,000 Feet.

Orchid Tree

Bauhinia variegata Fabaceae Family ( Pea ) Orchid Tree. Also

called: Purple Orchid Tree, Mountain Ebony, Poor Man’s Orchid, Napoleon’s Hat,

Vlinderbloem, Butterfly Flower.  |

A fast growing deciduous tree to semi-evergreen tree, to 40 feet tall. It has

grey – green 2-lobed heart shaped large leaves, with 11 to 13 veins. It is

blooming during late winter or early spring. The flowers often make their first

appearance in late winter while the tree is bare of leaves.  Its spreading

crown is made of briefly deciduous leaves which are 4 – 6 inches across with

rounded, lobed ends, and heart shaped bases. The leaves are shaped a little like

a cow’s hoof. Some cultivars have leaves with white variegations. The flowers

look like orchids, with five irregular, usually slightly overlapping petals in

shades of magenta, lavender or purplish blue. Their blooming period lasts until

early summer. The flowers are 3 – 5 inches across in clusters at the branch

tips. Later on it produces flattened brown woody pods up to 12 inches long.

There are more than 200 species in the genus Bauhinia. Orchid trees do best in

acidic soil. Susceptible to iron chlorosis.  Considered invasive in

Florida.

Height: 20 To 40 feet tall. Has a 20 – 30 foot spread. In Phoenix, the

trees usually are small.

Bark: Grayish – brown, thin, smooth.

Trunk: 3 to 8 inches in diameter.

Twigs: Break easily.

Flowers: 3/16″ long; yellow or orange; very fragrant; including many

tiny stamens clustered in stalked balls 1/2″ in diameter; mainly in late

winter and early spring.

Blooming Time: Early January – March or April and intermittently through

summer.

Leaves: Green deciduous leaves which are 4 – 6 inches across with

rounded, lobed ends, and heart shaped bases. The cleft leaves resembe an animal

hoof.

Seeds: Seedpods 12″ long, 1/2″ – 1″ wide; brown; maturing

in summer, bursting open; many elliptical flattened shiny brown; seeds.

Found: Statewide. Low elevations.

Elevation: Below 2,000 Feet.

Habitat: Ornamental in lower elevations or Arizona. Introduced from

Northern India, Viet Nam and Southeastern China.

Yellow Oleander

Thevetia peruviana, Dogbane Family: ( Apocynaceae ), Yellow

Oleander.

This is a very popular landscaping plant in arizona and it is considered an

evergreen shrub or small tree.  Nerium oleander is used for screens,

informal hedges, colorful accents, and cityscapes. By removing the suckers and

leaving just a few stems an oleander bush can be trained into a very attractive

small tree. Multi – colored oleander line the freeways of lower elevations in

Arizona which provide commuters a soothing green display to enjoy while driving

through the larger cities.  The oleander is a tough durable shrub that is

inexpensive and easy to grow in most situations. Abundant, beautiful flowers are

produced in many colors and some varieties are delightfully fragrant. New

homeowners appreciate oleander’s satisfyingly fast growth rate and ability to

quickly green up a bare lot.  All parts of oleander are poisonous.

Height: Evergreen bush slowly growing to about 3 to 20 feet tall and 3

to 12 feet wide.

Flowers: The flowers are regular, fragrant, yellow or orange in color ,

about 2 inches across in clusters; they bloom in the spring and throughout the

summer. There is some bloom in the winter.

Blooming Time: Mid May – December.

Fruit: A capsule; hard, angled, up to 1inch across, green then to red

then to black.

Leaves: The leaves are alternate, nearly sessile; linear to linear

lanceolate; up to 6 inches long by about 1/4 inch wide; dark green, glossy.

Stems/Trunks: They are gray, extremely tough, and can be trained or

pruned as desired. Poisonous.

Found: Found throughout lower elevations in Arizona.

Elevation: 0 – 2500 Feet.

Habitat: Alkaline, well-drained/light soils. An ideal landscape plant in

Arizona. Native to Tropical Americas..

Arizona Sycamore Tree

Platanus wrightii, Planetree Family ( Platanaceae ), Arizona

Sycamore Tree. Also called: Plane Tree, Planetree.

Height: Usually 50 – 65 feet, with equal or slightly less spread. Can

reach 80 feet in some areas.

Flowers: Monoecious; imperfect, male flowers are on green balls about 1/2

inch in diameter. Female flowers are on green balls about 1 – 1 1/2 inches in

diameter . Male and female flowers grow same tree.

Blooming Time: Southern Arizona, March – April. Phoenix Area, April -

May.

Fruit & Seeds: Each brown round ball is composed of numerous tiny,

tufted seeds (achenes); the balls disintegrate over the winter, dispersing the

seeds with the wind.

Leaves: The leaves are alternate, simple, deciduous, 6 to 9 inches long,

they have 3 to 5 pointed lobes, swollen petiole base, green above, pale green

below.

Bark: The bark is white with brownish-gray sploches

Found: Native of Southern Europe, Western Asia and Northern Africa.

Elevation: 0 – 5000 Feet.

Habitat: A riparian area tree, which gives an aromatic smell to creek and

river habitats.

Arizona Ash

Fraxinus velutina, Olive Family ( Oleaceae ), Arizona Ash.

Also Called: Velvet Ash.

Arizona Ash is a landscape shade tree for Arizona. It also grows wild.  The

male and female flowers are on different trees. The male flowers drop in the

spring in large quantities, that can be composted rapidly. The female drops

large quantities of one-winged seeds (samara).

Height: 30 -5 0 foot with about 2/3 spread to the height with a round

crown.

Flowers: Axillary clusters of small creamy white flowers; bloom in

spring; allergenic. They have four valvate corolla lobes, a short four-toothed

calyx, and two stamens that produce pollen copiously and little, if any, nectar.

Blooming Time: Southern Arizona, March – April. Phoenix Area, April -

May.

Fruit & Seeds: Clusters of winged seed on female plants, similar to

single maple seeds; 1 -1 1/4 inches long, 1/4 inch wide.

Leaves: They are pinnately compound , usually 3 – 5 leaflets per leaf,

leaflets 3/4 – 2 1/2 inchs long; upper surface glossy green, lower soft and

velvety.

Bark: Smooth and gray when young, develops many shallow fissures and

scaly ridges into an irregular diamond pattern, gray – brown in color.

Found: Found throughout SW USA and Mexico.

Elevation: 2,000 – 6,000 Feet.

Habitat: Riparian canyons and large washes with perennial source of

water.

Shamel Ash

Fraxinus uhdei, Olive Family ( Oleaceae ), Shamel Ash. Also

called: Evergreen ash, Mexican ash

Evergreen tree if grown in the low desert, semi-deciduous in colder

climates. Very attractive foliage. Fast-growing. Its compound leaves can be

divided into 5 – 9 glossy, dark green, finely tooth-edged leaflets about 4

inches long on the same tree.  Susceptible to Texas root rot.

Height: Usually 40 – 55 feet, with equal or slightly less spread. Can

reach 80 feet in some areas.

Flowers: Petal – less flowers in large panicles. Male and female flowers

grow on separate trees.

Blooming Time: Southern Arizona, March – April. Phoenix Area, April -

May.

Fruit & Seeds: Edible olives, 1.5in across; green in late summer

maturing to black; drops when ripe.

Leaves: Compound leaves divided into 5-9 glossy, dark green, finely

tooth-edged leaflets about 4 inches long.

Found: Native of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras) to central and

southern Mexico.

Elevation: 0 – 2000 Feet.

Habitat: Lower elevations where water is available..

Maintenance: high; messy fall leaf drop, pruning is required.

Chinese Tallow Tree

Sapium sebiferum, Spurge Family: ( Euphorbiaceae ), Chinese Tallow

Tree.

Chinese Tallow is a deciduous tree growing to around 25 feet tall with a medium

crown. In autumn the leaves turn crimson, with some yellow and orange foliage.

In November and December green – yellow flower spikes appear on the tips of the

branches, they are followed by three – celled capsules. The fruit ripens and

then turns brown in autumn, it then splits open to reveal the three seeds which

are covered with a layer of white wax.  In southern China, a substantial

industry once revolved around the harvesting and processing of its waxy seeds.

They were thrown into boiling water to remove the wax, which was skimmed off and

used to make candles. The seeds were then pressed to extract an oil for use in

lamps, as a purgative, and for making oil-paper and soap.  Chinese tallow

tree will grow in most soils, but prefers a well-drained sandy loam enriched

with organic matter. Water well until the tree becomes established. Plant in a

warm sunny position for the best autumn color.

Height: To 25 feet. Spread may reach 40 feet.

Flowers: Monoecious; inconspicuous, light green in small tight clusters.

Flowering Time: February – April.

Leaves: Alternate, simple, elliptical to broadly lanceolate, small up to

2 inches long, pinnately veined, twice serrate margin; base of leaf is

inequilateral, shiny dark green above and nearly glabrous, pale below.

Bark: Light – gray with shallow, irregular furrows. The stems contain an

irritant milky sap.

Fruit: Has a flattened, winged samara, nearly round but notched at the

top, 1/2 inch long, light reddish brown, occuring in tight clusters.

Found: Origin: Northern China, eastern Siberia, Manchuria, and Korea,

first introduced into America in the 1860′s.

Elevation: 0 to 12,000 Feet.

Silktree Mimosa

Albizia julibrissin, Fabaceae Family ( Pea ),Silktree Mimosa: Also

called Silk Tree, Mimosa, or Silky Acacia.

Silktree is commonly known as Mimosa, it is a naturalized small ornamental tree

from China. The twice-compound leaves with many fine leaflets and pink

powderpuff flowers are very distinctive.  After leafing-out in the late

spring, the very fragrant flowers appear in June and continue off and on through

the summer, followed by flat bean-like pods. The flowers are visited by insects,

such as this bumblebee. Hummingbirds enjoy this tree.  Drought and wind

tolerant.   Not Pool Friendly!  First introduced into the U.S. in

1745.  Warning: silk trees grow in a variety of soils, produce large seed

crops, and re-sprout when damaged. This makes it is a strong competitor to

native trees and shrubs in open areas. Dense stands of mimosa often severely

reduce the sunlight and nutrients available for other plants in the area. It can

become a serious problem along riparian areas.

Height: 25 to 40 feet tall. 25 to 35 feet spread.

Bark: Grayish-brown, thin, smooth.

Trunk: 3 to 8 inches in diameter.

Flowers: Pink powderpuff flowers, about 1½ inches long, arranged in

panicles at the ends of branches.

Blooming Time: Early June, then off and on during the summer.

Leaves: Bipinnately compound; fern-like leaves, finely divided, 5 – 8

inches long by about 3 – 4 inches wide, alternating along the stems.

Seeds: Flat straw -colored seedpods about 4 -6 inches long, and about 1/2

to 3/4 inch wide, containing light brown oval – shaped seeds about 1/2 inch in

length.

Found: Statewide. Uncommon landscaping plant in the Phoenix and Tucson

areas.

Elevation: Below 3,000 Feet.

Habitat: Ornamental in lower elevations or Arizona. Native of Iran to

Japan .

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail