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Products > Parkinsonia aculeata
 
Parkinsonia aculeata - Mexican Palo Verde
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Fabaceae = Pea Family
Origin: Central America (North America)
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Summer
Synonyms: [Cercidium aculeata]
Height: 15-20 feet
Width: 15-20 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
Parkinsonia aculeata (Mexican Palo Verde) - Native to Mexico. Small picturesque round-headed tree of 15-20 feet tall with open lacy foliage that yields a pleasant dappled shade. It has a trunk and branches with yellow-green bark and within the fine-textured foliage small thorns are nestled. Showy, fragrant yellow flowers with throats having orange-reddish color spots have a peak bloom period in summer with scattered bloom year-round. After flowering a tan fruit pod forms with a papery sheath. Good for filtering sun to create light shade and very drought tolerant once established. Hardy to at least 20-25° F. Occasionally gets powdery mildew along the coast or where over-irrigated but this goes away with drier weather – the thornless and sterile hybrid that is called Parkinsonia 'Desert Museum' is a wonderful plant in inland gardens and certainly better in the low desert because it does not reseed, but ths plant has proven more affected by powdery mildew and we cannot recommend its planting here in Santa Barbara – trees just over our first range of mountains are not so affected. Though called the Mexican Palo Verde the natural range of this species reached as far north as Arizona and Texas and then south into South America and has also naturalized in low desert washes in California; for this reason there is concern about it being an invasive plant in these areas but we don't see this plant reseeding along the coast. The name for the genus honors John Parkinson (1567-1650) an early English botanist and apothecary who became the royal botanist to King Charles I. The specific epithet is from the Latin word 'aculeat' and means "with prickles" or "prickly" in reference to the thorns. The common name Palo Verde, is Spanish meaning “green stick” and is in reference to its green trunks and branches and though it is usually called Mexican Palo Verde this species' natural range does reach as far north as Arizona and south into South America.  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Parkinsonia aculeata.
 
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