Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Parkinsonia florida:
Blue Palo Verde

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Form: Tree.
Lifespan: 20-40 years.
Leaf retention: Drought and cold deciduous.
Growth rate: Moderate to rapid.
Mature Size: 25' high and wide.
Flowers: Five vivid yellow petals, edible.
Bloom: Spring.
Fruit: A seed pod, flat, thin, with pointed ends. The beans are edible but should be blanched, sprouted, or cooked either when small and green or when mature and dry.
Leaves: Small, blue-green, oval leaflets, larger than those of Yellow Palo Verde. The leaves will drop to prevent water loss when the tree is exposed to drought. This tree provides light filtered shade.
Stems: Short thorns are present at leaf nodes, the smooth blue-green bark provides photosynthesis which decreases with the age of the stem, gray scars tend to accumulate on the lower trunk as it ages.
Roots: Nitrogen-fixing*.
Wildlife: The seed pods attract birds and small mammals. Larger mammals browse its leaves.
Toxic / Danger: Small thorns.
Origin: California, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8-10.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Water after becoming established: Deeply, monthly.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low in organic content, pH 5.6-8.5 (acidic to alkaline). *Do not use a nitrogen fertilizer.
Prune: Remove dead branches, mistletoe and witches' broom after flowering. In warm weather only, remove the lowest branches early to train into a tree shape. Dip pruning shears in a 10% solution of bleach in water after every cut to avoid spreading diseases such as witch's broom.
Litter: Flower and seed pods in spring.
Propagation: Seed, scarified and soaked.
Uses: Ornamental, filtered shade.

This plant is a member of the Legume family (Fabaceae) with a scientific synonym of Cercidium floridum, but that name is unresolved at this time.
This is the first palo verde to bloom in the spring. It needs more water than the Yellow Palo Verde, performs best below 4000 feet elevation, and may require more pruning.

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Parkinsonia florida: Blue Palo Verde - flower

Parkinsonia florida: Blue Palo Verde - seed pod

Parkinsonia florida: Blue Palo Verde - leaves

Parkinsonia florida: Blue Palo Verde - trunk

Parkinsonia florida: Blue Palo Verde - trunk

Parkinsonia florida: Blue Palo Verde tree in bloom

Latest update: February, 2019
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