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Mexican Palo Verde
Jerusalem Thorn

Parkinsonia aculeata

Photo by Michael Plagens

This photo was taken in Phoenix June 2007 and is hosted at Wikimedia.

TREE: A medium-sized, fast growing tree.

LEAVES: Compound leaves have very long rachises and almost minute leaflets. Shortly, the leaflets fall off leaving the long, strap-like rachises to serve as leaves giving the whole plant a feathery look.

RANGE: Abundant in disturbed sites near agriculture and city lots. Sometimes planted as an ornamental, but more often arrives an advent from seed. Probably not native in the Arizona Sonoran Desert. Treated as an exotic invasive in many places; Australia for example.

FLOWERS: Yellow flowers have five petals and are bilaterally symmetrical to irregular. After pollination the petals change color to orange. Flowering peaks in mid spring, but then continues sporadically through summer and into fall.

ARMED: Significant and very sharp thorns make this weedy tree a chore to prune.

FRUIT: Elongate pods with several bean seeds. The pods are distinctly constricted between seeds.

Fabaceae -- Bean Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009