Challenge: Tree(s)

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
richj20 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,092
Ode to My Palo Verde in California

The Mexican Palo Verde (Parkinsonia aculeata) grows up to about 26 feet (8 m). Mine is close to that.

The genus was named for English botanist John Parkinson. The species name aculeata refers to the thorns on the trunk and stems of this tree.

The common name is Spanish for "green stick," referring to the green color of the bark, which provides photosynthesis during the tree's growing stages. Most mature trees lose some of the green color on the trunk.

The size of the tree and its thorns make this tree not so popular in urban areas, so a hybrid "Desert Museum" was created in Arizona. It grows only to about 20 feet, and has no thorns.

However, avid gardeners and desert rats like myself, take pride in having the real native! They abound in the Mojave Desert in California.

Unfortunately, a year or so after I photographed the above scene, I had to cut down the tree because it became weak. One huge branch dropped on the sidewalk. You can imagine the mess had it fallen on someone!

A botanist friend found slits in the large branches where water got in and began to weaken the tree. She surmised that a hot spell the previous summer, where temperatures were close to 110 F for almost a week, caused the tree to stress and make narrow cracks along the branches. "I think this tree as got to go," she concluded.

It is a rather fast growing tree. I planted a seedling in 2008, and a few years later, it was quite sprawling. If I may be permitted another photograph of the same tree: a time line showing its growth.

I miss this tree very much!

- Richard

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