Parkinsonia florida

Accession Count: 138
Common Name: Blue Palo Verde
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Family Name: Fabaceae
Botanical Name: Parkinsonia florida
Sub Species:
Variety:
Forma:
Cultivar:
Characteristics: The blue palo verde is a deciduous tree with an alternate, bipinnate leaf arrangement with one to three pairs of leaflets of each pinna. Each leaf is a quarter of an inch long and blue-green in color. The blue palo verde can be distinguished from other green-trunked trees by its small straight spines at the branching points, the bluish tinge to the green bark and leaves, and its tendency to grow near washes in the wild (as opposed to the foothills palo verde which tends to grow on slopes). The blue palo verde also flowers earlier than the foothills palo verde. Both are found throughout the Tucson basin. These trees are profuse bloomers, densely clothed in bright yellow flowers for a few weeks in late spring.
Compound: Par flo
Geographic Origin: Desert Southwest
Ecozone Origin: Nearctic
Biome Origin:
Natural History: The blue palo verde originated in the Sonoran Desert of Mexico at elevations below 3,500 feet and is also a native of the Tucson Basin. As is true of many of the plants that make up the Sonoran Desert flora in the Tucson area, the blue palo verde is thought to have arrived relatively recently-- approximately 4,240 years ago according to pack-rat midden evidence. 
Cultivation Notes: Parkinsonia florida requires minimal water, but does best with a monthly deep irrigation in the summer. It grows moderately fast and is particularly susceptible to mistletoe infestations, palo verde beetles, and witches broom. To eradicate witches broom from this tree, cut the entire branch off. P. florida is a hardy tree that suffers damage at temperatures below 12℉. These trees are particularly suitable for sunny areas.
Ethnobotany: The blue palo verde has landscape value as a patio plant and also has wildlife value in that is produces seeds, nectar, and shaded cover. The seeds flower and immature fruits (pods) are edible. Bees are the most common pollinators.

Height: 20 - 50 feet
Width: 20 - 50 feet
Growth Rate: Fast Growing
Grow Season: Summer
Flower Season: Spring
Color: Yellow
Function: Shade
Spread: Spreading
Allergen: Allergenic
Invasive: Invasive
Toxicity: Benign
Hardy: Hardy
Water Use: Low water Use

Citations:
1. Walters, James E, and Balbir Backhaus. Shade and Color with Water-Conserving Plants. Timber Press, 1992.
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Parkinsonia florida