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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 an evergreen tree, keeping its foliage year-round.

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 6 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.