The Parkinsonia florida, Blue Paloverde
Parkinsonia florida, the Blue Palo Verde (syn. Cercidium floridum), is a
species of palo verde native to the Sonoran Deserts in the Southwestern
United States and Northwestern Mexico. Its name means "green pole or stick"
in Spanish, referring to the green trunk and branches, that perform
photosynthesis. The plant's trunk, branches, and leaves are blue-green in
color, hence the common name. The plant is drought-deciduous, shedding its
foliage for most of the year, leafing out after rainfall.
The flowers are bright yellow, and pea-like, which cover the tree in late spring. The plant's beans were used as a food source, and wood for creating ladles, by the indigenous Quechan, Mojave, and Pima people.
Parkinsonia florida is cultivated as an ornamental plant and tree by specialty plant nurseries, for planting as a shrub or multi-trunked small tree in drought tolerant and wildlife gardens of suitable climates. It offers an unusual green-blue silhouette in gardens, and delicately patterned light shade over patios.
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DESCRIPTION: Tree to 30-40′ high. Bark bluish-green and smooth.
Spines are small (0.25″), green, and straight. Leaves are bipinnately compound, with three or fewer secondary leaflets per primary leaflet (versus four or more in Foothills Palo Verde).
Flowers are bright yellow and 5-petaled (all petals are bright yellow in contrast to Foothills Palo Verde that has its largest petal white).
Flowers in spring (April), usually before Foothills Palo Verde in the same area. Fruit is a flat pod starting green and turning yellow.
Fabaceae (Legume) Family.
NATURAL HISTORY: The Blue and Foothills Palo Verdes are Arizona’s State Tree.
Paloverde means “green stick” in Spanish, referring to the smooth, green bark in which photosynthesis takes place.
This allows the tree to drop its leaves (drought deciduous) to conserve water, yet still photosynthesize. Compared to Foothills Palo Verde, Blue Palo Verdes need more water thus tend to be more restricted to washes and roadsides.
The seeds are very hard, thus are not as easily eaten by humans, but you should hear what it sounds like when Javelina crunch up the seeds with their strong teeth.
The seeds need to be scarified (abraded, as occurs in flash floods or digestive tracts) or weathered underground a few years before germination occurs.
The flowers are an important source of nectar and pollen for many species of solitary bees, butterflies as well as other insects.
Our tips on growing a Palo Verde tree from a seed, go to this link HERE
There's also a species called "Desert Museum"
It's named after the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
According to a Los Angeles Times article,
the name was created about thirty years ago when staff members at the museum
began to notice the thorn-less paloverde trees that bloomed throughout the summer.
They can easily live a century
The Foothills Palo Verde can live to be about 100 years old. Some can even age up to 400 years.