AZ Arboretums

Pithecellobium mexicanum

Mexican ebony

Common: Mexican ebony, Palo chino
Origin: Mexican states of Baja California, Sonora and Sinaloa. Grows along arroyos, on desert slopes and on valley floors.
Temperature: Endures temperatures to at least 18 degrees F
Light: Needs full sun for proper development
Soil: Most soils will do, but depth is desireable.
Water: Supplemental irrigation in the summer, combined with good soil, encourage fast growth.

Can be used in courtyards or other limited space areas. Small hooked thorns made the plant effective for security or barrier plantings. Natural form is a rounded shrub or small tree to 20 feet high and about 15 feet wide. Can reach 45 ft tall and 30 ft wide but only under optimal conditions.

Gray-green deciduous foliage divided into tiny rounded leaflets 1/4 inch long. Slender branches bear pairs of 1/8-inch curved thorns. In March and April, fluffy, cream-colored flowers approximately 1 inch in diameter appear, followed by brown leathery pods 1 inch wide and three inches long.

Winter bareness can be played down by incorporating evergreen plants nearby.