Scientific Name: Olneya tesota
Common Name: Desert Ironwood
Growth Habit: Tree, Shrub
Arizona Native Status: Native
Habitat: Desert. This cold sensitive plant is found below 2500 feet (762 m) in elevation, which means that it grows on the west side of Tucson, but not on the higher elevation east side.
Flower Color: Purple and white, Purple and pale pink
Flowering Season: Spring (late), Summer (early). It blooms in May and early June.
Height: To 35 feet (10.7 m) tall
Description: The flowers are pea-like and 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) wide. The wing petals are purple, while the other petals are white to pale pink. The trees are a beautiful and distinctive light purple color when in full bloom. The flowers are followed by plump, oblong bean pods that are narrowed between seeds and dry to a tan color on the plant. The leaves are pinnately compound with small, rounded, dull bluish green leaflets. The branches have sharp thorns. The bark is silvery gray in color and becomes rough with age. The wood is hard like iron and very dense, making it unusually heavy.
Legal Status – Protected Native Plant (Salvage Assessed, Harvest Restricted)
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Fabaceae – Pea family
Genus: Olneya A. Gray – olneya
Species: Olneya tesota A. Gray – desert ironwood
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