yellow paloverde, more...
[Cercidium microphyllum (Torr.) Rose & I.M. Johnston]
Wiggins 1964, Benson and Darrow 1981, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Common Name: yellow paloverde Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Tree General: Small tree or large shrub to 6 m tall with smooth green bark on all twigs and branches except near the base, which is gray. Leaves: Borne on thorn tipped stems, lacking a petiole with 1 pair of pinnae, each 1-5 cm and with 4-8 pairs of leaflets, leaflets 1-3.5 mm broadly elliptic to broadly oblong or orbicular. Flowers: Bicolored with four yellow petals and one white banner, 12-18 mm wide. Fruits: Pods, sparsely pubescent, tan to straw-colored 4-8 cm long, indehiscent. Ecology: Abundant on bajadas, plains and hillslopes through low desert from 500-3,500 ft (152-1067 m); flowers April-May. Distribution: s and w AZ, se CA, Sonora and Baja Calif., MEX. Notes: A dominant on the dry rocky hillsides of the Sonoran Desert. Has yellowish green bark, leaflets < 3 mm long, flowers < 10 mm long which often have one white petal among the yellow petals, and turgid (inflated) seed pods ending in a flat triangular or sword-shaped beak. Compare to P. florida which tends to grow along dry washes more often than hillsides, has bluish-green bark, larger leaflets 4-8 mm long, larger flowers 12-17 mm long with all petals the same bright yellow color, and flat seed pods with short triangular beaks or without beaks. Ethnobotany: The seeds were dried and roasted before being ground into meal for mush or cakes. Green pods can be eaten raw, similar to edamame (soybean) in texture. The wood was used for carving ladles. Etymology: Parkinsonia is named after John Parkinson (1567-1650), microphyllum refers to its being small-leaved. Synonyms: Cercidium microphyllum Editor: SBuckley, 2010