Foothills Palo Verde


Scientific Name: Cercidium microphyllus or Parkinsonia microphylla
Common Name: Foothills Palo Verde, yellow paloverde
Family: Fabaceae, Pea Family
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 25 feet
Growth Form: Tree or shrub; spiny, heavily branched with an open crown, bark is a smooth  yellow-green with ability to photosynthesize, trunk about 1 foot in diameter.

Leaves: Green or yellow-green; pinnately   compound, spiny, leaves in pairs, rachis longer than on Blue Paloverde, about 6 to 8 inches long, although leaves are absent most of the year
Flower Color: Yellow; about 1 inch across, flowers smaller and paler than Blue Paloverde; banner petal is cream or white, fruit is a legume, pods short, about 2 to 3 inches long, tightly constricted between seeds, 1 to 5 seeds.

Threatened/Endangered Information: In Arizona,    Parkinsonia microphylla is "Salvage Assessed, Harvest Restricted" (A permit from the Department of Agriculture is necessary to transport this species off  private property.)

Flowering Season: April and May

Comments: Foothills Paloverde is one of the most common trees of the Sonoran Desert. It is both an indicator species and a common dominant plant in the Sonoran Desert. Other co-dominant species include Creosote-bush (Larrea), Triangle Bursage (Ambrosia), Brittlebush (Encelia) Ocotillo (Fouquieria) and Wolfberry (Lycium). This community is sometimes called the Paloverde, Bursage desert scrub community. Two ways to tell the difference between Foothills and Blue paloverde. 1st, the dried seed pods on the foothills are constricted between seeds. 2nd, the foothills has a white banner pedal vs a yellow banner pedal on the blue paloverde.