|Mexican Paloverde (Parkinsonia aculeata)|
DESCRIPTION: Tree to 40' high. Bark yellowish-green and smooth. Spines are long, straight, and occur in pairs at the base of leaves. Leaves are bipinnately compound to 20" long with 10-40 pairs of small leaflets that fall off quickly as the soil dries, leaving the long streamers that only fall off under more severely dry conditions. Flowers are bright yellow to 1" wide, with 5 petals, with the largest petal turning orangish with age. The dark brown seed pod may grow to 4" in length. Fabaceae (Legume) Family.
NATURAL HISTORY: Flowers bloom mainly in spring. The Mexican Paloverde naturally occurs in the American tropics, and it likely was introduced to Arizona as it has been worldwide. Here it is most commonly found in disturbed areas such as roadsides, but it also is widely planted as a landscape plant due to its fast growth rate (however, it has many drawbacks as a landscape plant -- e.g., messy, spiny, aggressive, and it lives only about 30 years).