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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Parkinsonia aculeata - Palo Verde

The Palo Verde or Mexican Palo Verde is a beautiful but uncommonly planted tree in SC. They are small\ trees, under 20', with a spreading to rounded canopy and a fine texture due to its very thin leaves. Can be seen as a single stemmed or multi stemmed tree or large shrub. Like so many trees, they can be well behaved or invasive depending on where they are. 




Leaves are alternate, 6-8" long, pinnately compound, 30 tiny oval leaflets on a flattened rachis. The leaves look like thin threads. The leaflets are summer drought tolerant leaving behind the petiole and rachis to photosynthesize (stems as well).



Upper surface seems to be lighter green, lower surface has a ridge, whole petiole and rachis is flattened.



These are the small oval leaflets.



Flowers are fragrant, about 3/4" in diameter, yellow with a small spot of orange on the upper most petal. Appearing at the beginning of summer in a raceme of 8-10 flowers. Five petals, sort of papery looking. Another one of those "non legume" looking legume flowers.





Fruit is a tan brown pod.


Stems are green, smooth more or less, and show distinct spines, often in threes.


Misidentification:
Other Parkensonia species, but I would not be much help.

Location
Aptos
Cabrillo College Gardens

Santa Cruz
414 San Juan Rd.

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