Common name: 'Desert Museum' palo verde
Origin: Native to Arizona
Where it will grow: Hardy to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (USDA zone 8; find your zone)
Water requirement: Low
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature size: 25 feet tall and wide
Benefits and tolerances: Drought tolerant once established
Seasonal interest: Flowers in spring and may continue sporadically throughout summer and into fall
When to plant: Fall or spring
'Desert Museum' has the best attributes of its three parents — Mexican palo verde (Parkinsonia aculeata), blue palo verde (Parkinsonia florida) and little leaf palo verde (Parkinsonia microphylla) — with a bright green trunk, larger flowers and a more upright growth habit.
Unlike its parents, 'Desert Museum' is thornless, which makes it suitable for pedestrian areas; it is most commonly grown as a multitrunked tree.
All palo verde trees are drought deciduous, meaning they shed their leaves during periods of extended drought. Their green trunks continue to carry on photosynthesis in the absence of leaves, allowing the tree to survive until rainfall arrives.
Because 'Desert Museum' is a hybrid, it cannot be grown from seed. It is propagated via cuttings.
This beautiful tree provides a focal point in the landscape when planted singly or in a row.
Autumn sage (Salvia greggii) looks beautiful planted around the base of the tree and will appreciate the filtered shade during summer.
Shown: 'Desert Museum' palo verde with flowering gold and purple lantana
Don't waste money on buying a large tree. Because it grows quickly, a 15-gallon tree will soon catch up with a larger box tree once it's planted in the ground.
Prune in summer, after flowering slows down, concentrating on maintaining its vase shape.
Although it's drought tolerant, 'Desert Museum' palo verde does appreciate periodic deep watering. Be careful not to overwater, which can lead to limb breakage.