Palo Verde Trees: Green Giants of the Desert

During our pilgrimages to Palm Springs, we of course go nuts over the cacti and all the swooping, low-slung architecture and furniture. But tonight we’d like to raise a glass of peyote wine to an unsung deciduous wonder of the desert: the palo verde trees.

Springtime at the Ace Hotel, we’d see the Parkinsonia aculeata (palo verde) flowering aggressively.

Springtime at the Ace Hotel: the palo verde’s neon yellow blooms.

Blooms the color of caution tape crackled against the desert sky, neon yellow against coughdrop blue. The palo verde trees were already defoliated when we returned last fall, but it’s when they’re bare that they get to show off their best feature.

Dining al fresco — and con palo verde — on the patio at Jake’s on North Palm Canyon Drive.

The thing about the palo verde is that its trunk and branches — the entirety of its bark — is green.

Come fall, the green bark of the P. aculeata soaks up the sun and the attention.

It’s these petioles and branches, all a shade of Jolly Green Giant green, that do the photosynthesizing for much for the year for the palo verde tree. Not for nothing is their name Spanish for “green stick.”

A notable hybrid is the Desert Museum, which blooms not only in the spring, but also all summer long.

Browse, shoot and share Parkinsonia aculeata (palo verde) in the Community Garden