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in Tucson, Phoenix,
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Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, and Southern California

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Parkinsonia microphylla: Yellow Paloverde / Foothill Palo Verde

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Description
Form: Tree.
Leaf retention: Drought and cold deciduous.
Growth rate: Slow to moderate depending on water.
Mature Size: 10-20' high and wide.
Flowers: Five petals, top one white, other four pale yellow. Edible.
Bloom: Spring.
Fruit: Seed pod tightly constricted around seeds. Beans are edible but should be blanched, sprouted, or cooked either when small and green or when mature and dry.
Leaves: Tiny, green, oval, missing if exposed to drought. Provides light filtered shade.
Stems: Yellow-green, branch tips pointed and spine-like. Branches may be shed during prolonged drought.
Roots: Deep, nitrogen-fixing*.
Wildlife: Pods and seeds attract birds and mammals.
Toxic / Danger: Spines at end of branches.
Origin: Arizona, California, Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8b-10.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Water after becoming established: Deeply, monthly during drought.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low in organic content, pH 5.6-8.5 (acidic to alkaline). *Do not use a nitrogen fertilizer.
Prune: Only when necessary to raise canopy. Start early to avoid cutting large trunks or stems.
Litter: Seed pods. Branches in prolonged drought.
Propagation: Seed, scarified and soaked.
Uses: Ornamental, shade.

Comments
Former scientific name: cercidium microphylla. Another common name is Littleleaf Palo Verde. In contrast to other palo verde species, this tree is pale yellow instead of vivid yellow in full bloom, smaller, more drought tolerant, more likely to be leafless, and has a slower growth rate. It prefers to grow below 4000 feet elevation. Lifespan is more than 100 years.



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