Scientific Name: Parkinsonia aculeata
Common Names: Jerusalem Thorn, Mexican Paloverde, Mexican Palo Verde
Duration: Perennial, Deciduous
Growth Habit: Tree, Shrub
Arizona Native Status: Native, Introduced. Since this attractive tree is a common desert landscaping plant here, some of these trees are actually naturalized garden escapes.
Habitat: Desert, Upland, Riparian. It typically grows along roadsides and in desert washes.
Flower Color: Bright yellow (yellow and orange with age)
Flowering Season: Spring
Height: To 20 feet (6 m) tall
Description: The flowers are 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and have 5 petals. The top petal turns from a bright yellow color to orange as the flower ages. The flowers are followed by necklace-like, brown bean pods. The distinctive leaves are bipinnately compound with 6 to 9 inch (15 to 23 cm) long, needle-like, green midribs and 10 to 40 pairs of small, elliptical, green leaflets that are often quickly shed. The branches have spines and the photosynthesizing bark is yellow-green in color.
The similar Blue Paloverde (Parkinsonia florida) has solid yellow flowers, while Yellow Paloverde (Parkinsonia microphylla) has lighter yellow flowers with a white upper petal.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Fabaceae – Pea family
Genus: Parkinsonia L. – paloverde
Species: Parkinsonia aculeata L. – Jerusalem thorn
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