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Zones 8-14, 18-20
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Moderate, Minimal

Cercidium

Paloverde
Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Deciduous, Trees

Tough, trouble-free desert trees valued for floral display, shade, colorful bark. Clusters of small, bright yellow flowers nearly hide the spiny branches in spring. Lightly filtered shade is cast by intricate canopy of twigs rather than by tiny leaves, which are shed early. These trees attract birds. Prune only to enhance form, removing crossing, wayward, or too low branches; hold off on pruning when temperatures rise above 100°F/38°C.

Cercidium floridum
Cercidium floridum

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Cercidium floridum

Native to deserts of Southern California, Arizona, Baja California. In gardens, grows fast to 35 ft. tall, 30 ft.wide. Bright pure yellow flowers in 2 to 4 1/2 -in. clusters; earliest of the palo verdes to bloom in spring. Bluish green leaves with one to three pairs of smooth, tiny leaflets; bluish green branches.

Cercidium praecox

Native Sonoran Desert to South America. Moderate growth to 20 ft. tall and wide. Umbrella form; lime green bark and leaves divided into 12 to 14 pairs of 1/4 -in. leaflets.

'Desert Museum'

This tree carries genes from Parkinsonia aculeata, Cercidium microphyllum, and C. floridum and combines the best traits of all three. It grows to 20 ft. tall and as wide in 3 to 5 years. Large (1-in.) yellow blossoms appear over a long period; flowering is most profuse in spring, with rebloom possible in summer. Light green stems and leaves. This is a clean, thornless tree that produces few seedpods and scant litter.

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