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Desert-WillowChilopsis linearis

  • Northern Red Oak - Quercus rubra
  • Desert Willow
  • Desert Willow
  • Desert Willow
  • Desert Willow

This tree’s name certainly gives you clues to its attributes. It prefers full sun conditions and is extremely drought-tolerant. And while the desert-willow is not actually related to the willow, the tree does resemble it in appearance.

The multi-trunked, well-branched growth habit and thick growth make the desert-willow well suited for a wide screen or tall hedge. Groups can also be planted in a large-scale landscape for a splash of midsummer color.

Hardiness Zones

The desert-willow can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 7–9. View Map

Tree Type

This is a flowering tree, typically planted for its profusion of flowers.

Mature Size

The desert-willow grows to a height of 15–25' and a spread of around 10' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The desert-willow grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. It cannot grow in wet or heavy soils but is extremely drought tolerant.

Attributes

This tree:
  • Blooms midsummer, producing fragrant, showy pink flowers.
  • Requires little maintenance.
  • Tolerates drought extremely well.
  • Usually develops a multi-trunked form.
  • Has a well-branched habit that forms thick growth, making it useful as a wide screen or tall hedge.
  • Features simple, linear to linear-lanceolate leaves that are blue-green or medium to dark green, turning gold in the fall.
  • Yields 10" seeds pod that persist throughout the winter.
  • Grows in a rounded, spreading or horizontal shape.

Wildlife Value

The seeds of the desert-willow are eaten by wildlife, and the flowers often attract hummingbirds. It can provide a nesting site for desert birds and ground cover for other animals.

History/Lore

The branches of the desert-willow have been used to make thatch roofs. This tree resembles a willow in appearance, but it is not related.