Parkinsonia microphylla

Yellow Palo Verde

Plant Type: Shrub, Tree
Sun: Sun
Drainage: Well-draining
Water: Naturalize
Height X Width: 12' X 10'
Santa Clara County Local: No
What do these mean?



The yellow palo verde is native to the US Southwest and northern Mexico. In California it is occasionally found along the Colorado River. It is one of many shrubs and trees of the pea family, Fabaceae, which become prevalent as one moves south into the deserts of the southern US and Mexico. The palo verde are named for their green bark, which allows the trees to photosynthesize when the leaves are shed. The branches grow densely with an upward orientation, each tipped with a formidable spine. The leaves are compound with small oval leaflets. The yellow flowers are quite showy. Although the yellow palo verde will lose its leaves under drought and heat stress, the mild climate of the SF Bay Area makes this unlikely. This slow-growing shrub/small tree makes for a showy, unique subject in a sunny portion of the landscape. Its spines may be used to advantage in a barrier hedge. At my growing site I have one in a large pot doing service as natural barbed wire along the fence line.


Deer Resistant: No
Attractive to Bees: Yes
Attractive to Butterflies: Yes
Good Under Oaks: No
Evergreen or Deciduous: Evergreen