Alphabetical Plant Listing

Parkinsonia aculeata (Jerusalem Thorn)

Retama, Paloverde, Mexican Paloverde, Jerusalem Thorn, Horsebean, Lluvia De Oro


Noted for its unusual green bark and long blooming season, Parkinsonia aculeata (Jerusalem Thorn) is a light, airy, small tree with graceful, slightly arching branches covered with tiny, bright green leaflets and showy sprays of bright yellow flowers. Blooming profusely through the warm months, especially after rains, masses of bright golden-yellow flowers, with orange markings, cover the entire tree. Rich in nectar, the flowers attract bees as well as many other insects. They give way to bean-like seed pods, 3-5 in. long (7-12 cm), that are valued by birds and mammals. The foliage of bipinnately compound green leaves usually falls off during the summer in response to dryness. However, photosynthesis is performed by the smooth, spiny, green branches and twigs. Long-lived (up to 150 years old), fast-growing, drought and heat tolerant, Jerusalem Thorn is a great tree for gardens where its architectural qualities can be admired. Showstopping in bloom, great-looking year around, this beautiful tree is perfect for areas that are neither too moist nor too dry. With too much moisture, it will seed out aggressively. With too little moisture, it will lose all its leaves. A popular, fast-growing tree widely used as a small specimen tree or hedge plant in warm regions.

  • Grows up to 15-20 ft. tall (4-6 m) and 20-25 ft. tall (6-8 m). Adds about 24-36 in. per year (60-90 cm).
  • A full sun lover, this plant is easily grown in dry to medium, clay, loamy, sand, neutral to alkaline, well-drained soils. Drought and salt tolerant once established. Shelter from cool winds.
  • Virtually pest and disease free. Keep an eye out for shot hole borers.
  • Prune to maintain a single or multiple trunk look..
  • Propagate by seeds or semi-hardwood cuttings taken in summer.
  • Native from central Texas south as far as northern South America and west to Arizona.

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Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 11
Heat Zones 10 – 12
Climate Zones 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Trees
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 15' – 20' (4.5m – 6m)
Spread 20' – 25' (6m – 7.5m)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Rocky Mountains, Utah, Southeast, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas
Tolerance Drought, Salt
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

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(c) Gerhard Bock, SucculentsandMore.com, Wendy Cutler (Flickr)

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 11
Heat Zones 10 – 12
Climate Zones 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Trees
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 15' – 20' (4.5m – 6m)
Spread 20' – 25' (6m – 7.5m)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Rocky Mountains, Utah, Southeast, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas
Tolerance Drought, Salt
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

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