AZ Arboretums

Chilopsis linearis

Desert zinnia

Common: Desert willow, Desert catalpa
Family: Bignoniaceae
Light: Part shade to full sun
Soil: All soil types with good drainage
Water: Once established can survive on rainfall alone. However, supplemental watering during the summer wil produce more attractive flowers and foliage.

Develops shaggy bark and twisting trunks somewhat like Australian tea tree; open with twiggy structure. At first grows fast (to 3 ft. in a season), then slows down, leveling off at about 25 ft. Drops leaves early and can look shaggy. Used for windbreaks, visual screens, desert or wild gardens, lawn or garden specimen. Long, weeping 2 - 5 in. leaves; smooth gray bark.

Flowers look somewhat like catalpa's, trumpet shaped with crimped lobes; white, lavender, pink. Flowers appear in spring and often through fall. Gallon-size plants bear in first year. Flowers followed by seed pods 4 to 12 inches in length. Pruning makes it a very handsome tree; shape as desired in dormant season.

Attracts birds. Some litter from seed pods. Tips of pods are very spiny, so be careful around playgrounds and high circulation areas.