En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Name for paloverde look-alike near Colorado Springs

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 26, 2011

From: Colorado Springs, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs
Title: Name for paloverde look-alike near Colorado Springs
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I don't know where this plant comes from. However, I am wondering what the name of plant of the following description would be. It is a shrub, about 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. It grows in zone 6 to 5b. This may be its northern limit though. Colorado Springs is where I have seen this plant. I have only seen two of them. The appear similar to the Palo Verde of Arizona in branch and leaf habit, in that they have no leaves as seen from a distance and they have green branches.

ANSWER:

None of the paloverdes (Parkinsonia aculeata (Retama), Parkinsonia florida (Blue paloverde), Parkinsonia microphylla (Yellow paloverde), or Parkinsonia texana var. macra (Texas paloverde) grow naturally in Colorado.   The nearest to Colorado is P. aculeata in southwestern Utah and southern New Mexico so it probably isn't one of them.  They probably wouldn't survive in zone 5b or 6.

Here are some possibilities, however, that might be the plant you describe:

Ephedra torreyana (Torrey joint-fir) or, perhaps, the closely related Ephedra viridis (Mormon tea) and Ephedra cutleri (Cutler's jointfir).  Here are more photos and information.  Also, Ephedra nevadensis occurs in eastern Utah.

 Koeberlinia spinosa (Crown of thorns), however, the USDA Plants Database map does not show it occurring in Colorado.

Pleiacanthus spinosus (thorn skeletonweed)  does not occur in Colorado (according to the USDA Plants Database) but does occur in adjacent Utah and here are more photos and information.

 Stephanomeria pauciflora (Brownplume wirelettuce) and here are more photos and information.

If none of the above is the plant you have seen, please visit our Plant Identification page where you will find links to several plant identification forums.  If you have a photo, you can submit it to one of them for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Torrey joint-fir
Ephedra torreyana

Mormon tea
Ephedra viridis

Crown of thorns
Koeberlinia spinosa

Brownplume wirelettuce
Stephanomeria pauciflora

More Plant Identification Questions

Tentative identification of Ibervillea lindheimeri
June 22, 2007 - I live close to the Center and found a plant in the park near my house I'd like identified. It was a vine with bright red fruit on it. The fruit was about the size of a cherry tomato but was oblong...
view the full question and answer

Plant identfication
October 21, 2009 - Hi...Can you please identfy the tall, evergreen shrub with purple plum-colored foliage that I have noticed in winter locally?...Hope so, need he color! THX
view the full question and answer

Larkspur with pink and white flowers
July 26, 2014 - Hi - I have been photographing larkspurs (mainly D. bicolor) in Montana for years now and I found one that I can't identify. The leaves and flower structure all appear to be D. bicolor, but the flow...
view the full question and answer

Keys for identification of native plants in Ohio
April 22, 2005 - Do you know of any good web sites that provide keys for the identification of native plants? I'm conducting a wetland plant inventory in southwestern Ohio.
view the full question and answer

Giant Thistle-Like Plant from Elgin, TX
June 01, 2014 - I have a giant thistle like plant in my field we have been unable to identify. It looks like a milk thistle but it is short..only about a foot tall..stocky...and the flowers are giant..about 6 to 8 i...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center