Palo Verde

(Parkinsonia x. ‘Desert Museum’)

A Palo Verde tree in front of the Great Lawn at Sunnylands Center and Gardens.

This striking tree is easily identified by its dark green bark and is one of only two green-barked species in the gardens. It has been planted throughout the east and west gardens, and it encircles the Great Lawn, though not in the planting beds directly adjacent the Center. Those beds belong to its cousin, the lighter green Palo Brea, also a Parkinsonia.

The ‘Desert Museum’ is a complex hybrid with parentage of three other Parkinsonia: the Mexican (P. aculeata), Foothill (P. microphylla), and Blue (P. florida), and inherited traits of all three.

Bright yellow flowers fill the tree’s thorn-less canopy during its long flowering season, which begins in early spring, generally peaking in mid-April, and continuing into the summer. In spring, you will see Costa’s Hummingbirds battling for the best branches to perch and nest and hear the soft buzzing of dozens of delighted bees collecting pollen from this wildlife favorite.

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