Fabaceae (pea family) Parkinsonia

Parkinsonia florida blue palo verde

California, Mexico
Cercidium floridum (syn.)
Parkinsonia florida leaves and flowers. John Rawlings, 16 Jun 2005

This is a small summer-deciduous tree of the Sonoran desert with just a few very small leaflets, showy yellow flowers, and 3-inch long pods. A palo verde might be expected to be green, but in this case the bark is bluish green; the intricate structure of the branches lends interest to its appearance. A specimen in the inside courtyard at the Cantor Center was lost to a change in landscaping.

Name derivation: Parkinsonia – John Parkinson (1567–1650), Apothecary of London and royal herbalist; Cercidium – from the Greek kerkidion, a weaver’s shuttle, and descriptive of the woody fruits; floridum/floridus – either (1) free flowering, producing abundant flowers; or (2) bright. From California Plant Names.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. Cantor location removal noted (Jan 2018, SP). Name updated to Parkinsonia florida (Feb 2024, SP).