Sonoran Desert Sennas and Cassias

Primarily trees and shrubs plus a few subshrubs. Fruit a legume with one to several beans. Flowers weakly bilaterally symmetrical - in the Sonoran Desert many are bright yellow in color. Leaves are usually compound with an even number of leaflets.

Blue Palo Verde

Parkinsonia florida

Foothills Palo Verde

Parkinsonia microphylla

Tree grows usu. along well-watered washes. Also planted in urban desert landscapes. Compound leaves often with about eight leaflets. Foliage with blue-green cast. Small, sharp thorns along branches. Detailed Description

Grows along drier washes and on rocky slopes. Double compound leaves have more, smaller leaflets. Foliage with yellow-green cast. Branch tips thornlike. Detailed Description

Sponsored Links

Jerusalem Thorn
Mexican Palo Verde

Parkinsonia aculeata

Desert Senna

Senna covesii

Fast growing tree of vacant lots, ditches and volunteer in landscaping. Uncommon in undisturbed Sonoran Desert. Compound leaves with very long rachises; leaflets readily shed leaving long strap-like leaves. 5 cm long, sharp thorns. Detailed Description

Photo by Michael Plagens

Low shrub or sub-shrub common along roadsides (widely planted by highway depts.), washes and in desert landscaping. Abundant yellow flowers. Pods face upwards as they open. Detailed Description

Bird of Paradise

Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Wand Holdback

Caesalpinia virgata

Medium to large shrub with abundant showy flowers. Planted in xeriscape gardens in urban Sonoran Desert. Rare in undisturbed Sonoran Desert; non-native. Compound leaves with numerous leaflets. Stems with abundant fine spines. Detailed Description

Uncommon shrub with narrow, rushlike stems with few or no leaves found in lower elevations of the Sonoran Desert along washes in canyons. No spines. Detailed Description

Mex Bird of Paradise

Caesalpinia mexicana

Spiny Senna

Senna Armata

Popular xeriscape shrub native to Mexico. No spines. Flat, thin-hulled seed pods. Detailed Description

Photo © by Michael Plagens

Far western portions of the Sonoran Desert, mostly in California. Sharp tips to branchlets. Shiny foliage/stems and bright yellow blossoms. Detailed Description

Sponsored Links

Sonoran Desert Places

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2015