Palo Verde is the Arizona State Tree

  • 01 of 03

    Foothill Palo Verde

    A Palo Verde tree in Arizona
    ••• Judy Hedding

    Many people think that the saguaro cactus is Arizona's State Tree, but it is not. The Palo Verde (pal-oh ver-dee) is Arizona's official state tree. Palo Verde is a Spanish phrase meaning "green pole" or "green stick."

    Two Palo Verde species are native to Arizona. The Blue Palo Verde (Cercidium floridum) has blue-green branches and leaves. The Foothill Palo Verde (Cercidium microphyllum) has yellow-green branches and leaves. The State of Arizona did not specifically name one of the two species as the state tree, so both qualify for that honor.

    Continue to 2 of 3 below.
  • 02 of 03

    Palo Verde Blossoms are Bright Yellow

    A set of Palo Verde blossoms
    ••• Judy Hedding

    Blooming in the spring (around the same time as Arizona's wildflower season, typically in March or April), palo verde trees are magnificent trees that add vibrant color to the desert with their small yellow flowers. 

    In the natural Sonoran Desert these large, wide trees help to protect saguaro seedlings as the low, long branches provide shelter from the elements. Also of note, those same palo verde trees that grow to be large and wide will do the same in your yard, so be careful not to plant them too close to your house.

    Continue to 3 of 3 below.
  • 03 of 03

    The Palo Verde is a Large, Deciduous Tree

    A Palo Verde tree in Phoenix, Arizona
    ••• Judy Hedding

    Be careful not to plant these too close to a pool or hot tub, though, since they are considered "dirty" trees and drop those blossoms everywhere. This photograph of a blanket of yellow blossoms in a front yard is indicative of what will happen if you don't keep up with the dropping of the blooms.

    One more warning: by planting palo verde trees you can sometimes attract Palo Verde Borer Beetles. Those are big and ugly!