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Foothill Paloverde (Parkinsonia microphylla)
foothills paloverde

DESCRIPTION: Large shrub or small tree to 15-40' high. Bark yellowish-green and smooth. Spines are absent (unlike Blue Paloverde), but branches terminate in sharp point. Leaves are bipinnately compound, with four or more secondary leaflets per primary leaflet (versus three or fewer in Blue Paloverde). Flowers are pale yellow and 5-petaled (the largest petal is white unlike the Blue Paloverde that has all bright yellow petals). Flowers in spring (April-May), usually right after Blue Paloverde in the same area finishes blooming. Fruit is a flat pod starting green and turning yellow. Fabaceae (Legume) Family.
NATURAL HISTORY: The Foothills and Blue Paloverdes are Arizona's State Trees. Paloverde means "green stick" in Spanish, referring to the smooth, green bark in which photosynthesis takes place. This allows the tree to drop its leaves (drought deciduous) to conserve water, yet still photosynthesize. Foothills Paloverde tolerate drier soils than Blue Paloverdes thus are not restricted to washes and roadsides as are Blue Paloverdes. Seeds are edible to humans as well as many other species. Seeds that are not eaten or infested by bruchid beetles can germinate without scarification (abrasion of the surface). Often the seeds "lucky enough" to germinate are those that were gathered, buried, and "forgotten" by rodents before bruchid beetle infestation. The flowers are an important source of nectar and pollen for many species of solitary bees, as well as other species.