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Parkinsonia microphylla (Yellow paloverde)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Parkinsonia microphylla

Parkinsonia microphylla Torr.

Yellow Paloverde, Foothill Paloverde, Littleleaf Paloverde

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Cercidium microphyllum

USDA Symbol: PAMI5

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Small, spiny tree that is leafless most of the year, with yellow-green trunk and wide, much-branched, open crown.

The Spanish common name, paloverde, meaning "green tree" or "green pole," describes the smooth, green branches and twigs. During most of the year, in the absence of leaves, the branches and twigs manufacture food. This adaptation to a desert habitat exposes less surface to the sun, aiding moisture retention. Called Foothill or Yellow Paloverde, the species has a yellowish hue to its branches and foliage and occupies drier foothills. Blue Paloverde (P. florida), which has blue-green branches and foliage, occurs chiefly along drainages, blooms earlier, and has larger, deeper yellow flowers. Native Americans ground and ate the beanlike seeds of both species.


From the Image Gallery

2 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


Native Distribution: Arizona, se. California, and nw. Mexico; at 500-4000' (152-1219 m).
Native Habitat: Associated with Saguaro on desert plains and rocky slopes of foothills and mountains.

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Parkinsonia microphylla in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Parkinsonia microphylla in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Parkinsonia microphylla


Record Modified: 2022-11-17
Research By: TWC Staff

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