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Vascular Plants of California
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Parkinsonia florida

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to tree. Leaf: generally alternate, generally compound, generally stipuled, generally entire, pinnately veined Inflorescence: generally raceme, spike, umbel or head; or flowers 1--few in axils. Flower: generally bisexual, generally bilateral; hypanthium 0 or flat to tubular; sepals generally 5, generally fused; petals generally 5, free, fused, or lower 2 +- united into keel (see 3, Key to Groups, for banner, wings); stamens 10 or many (or [1], 5, 6, 7, 9), free or fused or 10 with 9 filaments at least partly fused, 1 (uppermost) free; pistil 1, ovary superior, generally 1-chambered, ovules 1--many, style, stigma 1. Fruit: legume, including a stalk-like base (above receptacle) or not. Seed: 1--many, often +- reniform, generally hard, smooth.
Genera In Family: +- 730 genera, 19400 species: worldwide; with grasses, requisite in agriculture, most natural ecosystems. Many cultivated, most importantly Arachis, peanut; Glycine, soybean; Phaseolus, beans; Medicago, alfalfa; Trifolium, clovers; many orns. Note: Unless stated otherwise, fruit length including stalk-like base, number of 2° leaflets is per 1° leaflet. Upper suture of fruit adaxial, lower abaxial. Anthyllis vulneraria L. evidently a waif, a contaminant of legume seed from Europe. Laburnum anagyroides Medik., collected on Mount St. Helena in 1987, may be naturalized. Ceratonia siliqua L., carob tree (Group 2), differs from Gleditsia triacanthos L. in having evergreen (vs deciduous) leaves that are 1-pinnate (vs 1-pinnate on spurs on old stems, 2-pinnate on new stems) with 2--5(8) (vs 7--17) 1° leaflets, commonly cultivated, now naturalized in southern California. Aeschynomene rudis Benth. , Halimodendron halodendron (Pall.) Voss (possibly extirpated), Lens culinaris Medik. are agricultural weeds. Caragana arborescens Lam. only cult. Ononis alopecuroides L. , Sphaerophysa salsula (Pall.) DC. all evidently extirpated. Cercidium moved to Parkinsonia; Chamaecytisus to Cytisus; Psoralidium lanceolatum to Ladeania.
eFlora Treatment Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Martin F. Wojciechowski, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: ParkinsoniaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: PALO VERDE
Habit: Tree, shrub, with stipular spines at nodes or thorns in leaf axis (see leaf scars) or main leaf axis a strong spine. Stem: +- zigzag; bark smooth, green. Leaf: alternate or in clusters of 1--6 in spine axils, generally even-2-pinnate, sometimes appearing 1-pinnate, main axis flat, leaflets alternate, falling early or not; 1° leaflets 2--6; 2° leaflets 4--many. Inflorescence: raceme, axillary, generally < 7-flowered. Flower: +- bilateral; sepals +- free, alike, generally reflexed; petals +- equal, generally yellow or cream-white; stamens 10, yellow to orange, free, exserted. Fruit: indehiscent to partly late-dehiscent, generally flat, oblong, +- inflated, narrowed between seeds or not. Seed: 1--several.
Species In Genus: 11--12 species, 2 named hybrids: America, southern United States to Argentina, Africa; cultivated. Etymology: (J. Parkinson, London, apothecary, author, 1567--1650) Note: Haston et al., Hawkins support treatment of Cercidium and Parkinsonia, both recognized in TJM (1993), as single, monophyletic genus.
Unabridged Note: Since S. Watson (1870s), Cercidium and Parkinsonia have variously been treated as 1 or 2 genera; Carter 1974 and McClintock in TJM (1993) recognized both genera but work of Hawkins 1996 (Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ. Oxford, UK) and Haston et al. 2005 (Amer J Bot 92:1359--1371) support treatment as 1 monophyletic group.
Reference: Haston et al. 2005 Amer J Bot 92:1359--1371; Hawkins 1996 Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ Oxford, UK
Unabridged Reference: Carter 1974 Proc Calif Acad Sci 40(2):17--57; Haston et al. 2005 Amer J Bot 92:1359--1371; Hawkins 1996 Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ of Oxford, UK
Parkinsonia florida (A. Gray) S. Watson
Habit: Tree generally < 8 m, with thorns in leaf axils; branches spreading, +- zigzagged, +- glabrous. Leaf: petioled, blue-green; 1° leaflets 1 pair, axis < 1 cm; 2° leaflets 2--6, 4--8 mm. Flower: corolla 2--2.5 cm, banner 9--15 mm, widely ovate, yellow, orange-dotted or not. Fruit: indehiscent, 3--10 cm, flat, tan, +- not narrowed between seeds; tip beak-like.
Ecology: Uncommon. Washes, floodplains; Elevation: +- 1100 m. Bioregional Distribution: D; Distribution Outside California: to Arizona, northwestern Mexico. Flowering Time: Apr--May (generally 2 weeks before Parkinsonia microphylla) Note: Subspecies not recognized by Hawkins (2006, pers. comm.).
Synonyms: Cercidium floridum Benth. ex A. Gray; Cercidium floridum subsp. floridum
Unabridged Note: Subspecies of Carter 1974 (Cercidium floridum subsp. floridum, Cercidium floridum subsp. peninsulare) based mainly on overlapping, continuously varying characters that are not reliable; subsp. not recognized by Hawkins (2006, pers. comm.). Cult.
Jepson eFlora Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski
Reference: Haston et al. 2005 Amer J Bot 92:1359--1371; Hawkins 1996 Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ Oxford, UK
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Next taxon: Parkinsonia microphylla

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Botanical illustration including Parkinsonia florida

botanical illustration including Parkinsonia florida


Citation for this treatment: Martin F. Wojciechowski 2012, Parkinsonia florida, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 12, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 12, 2021.

Parkinsonia florida
click for enlargement
© 2011 Neal Kramer
Parkinsonia florida
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Parkinsonia florida
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Parkinsonia florida
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Parkinsonia florida
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Parkinsonia florida
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse

More photos of Parkinsonia florida in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Parkinsonia florida:
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).