Chilopsis linearis, Family Bigonia ( Bignoniaceae ), 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.
Plant desert willow tree in full sun or partial shade and in
well-drained soil. For the first year, water deeply every five to
seven days. Water established desert willow trees every two weeks in
the summer and every month in the winter. Prune in spring just as
leaves emerge to remove winter damage. To maintain a single trunk,
prune the lowest limbs every spring until the tree is as tall as you
want it. Most desert willow trees produce seedpods that may be
safely removed anytime.
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
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,
Water: Low water use plant