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Palo Brea, Sonoran Palo Verde
Scientific Name: Cercidium praecox (Ruiz & Pav.) Harms
Synonym: Caesalpinia praecox, Cercidium viride, Cercidium spinosum, Cercidium plurifoliatum, Parkinsonia praecox, Cercidium australe, Cercidium goldmannii
Family: Fabaceae
Palo Brea, Sonoran Palo Verde (Cercidium  praecox) Recommended Temperature Zone:
sunset: 10-14, 18-20

Frost Tolerance: Hardy to 22F (-5C)

Sun Exposure: Full sun, tolerates reflected sun

Origin: Mexico and south to Peru and Ecuador, at low elevation, in low deciduous forests

Growth Habits: Small deciduous tree, 20 to 40 feet tall (6-12 m), 20 feet wide (6 m); short bright green trunk, 12 inches in diameter (30 cm); arching growth; spines 0.2 to 0.4 inch long (5-10 mm) or more; bipinnate leaves

Watering Needs: Little to no water when established, every month until established. It prefers a slightly alkaline soil

Propagation: Seed


The Palo Brea is the most tender of the Palo Verdes commonly used in the Phoenix area. The low hanging spiny branches can be a hazard.

Blooming Habits:
Yellow flowers in the spring. Upper flower petal often bears orange dots.

Fruiting Habits:
Brown flat papyraceous pods, 1.2 to 2.4 inches long (3-6 cm), 0.24 to 0.4 inch wide (6-10 mm).


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Desert-Tropicals is dedicated to provide gardening advice, gardening ideas, and information about flower of all kind for landscape and collections. We try to check carefully the identification of the plants on the illustrations as well as the other information from the page, but occasionally errors do occur. if you notice anything that needs to be changed please contact us. Thanks.

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