Featured Tree: Desert Willow

 In Featured Trees, Sapling Days

One of my favorite flowering trees is the Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis). These tough trees  bloom throughout the summer, are drought hardy (in fact, you can kill them by watering them too much), and can really take our Texas summer heat.

While the Desert Willow can grow to be up to 40 feet tall, around Austin you can expect it to stay relatively small – around 15 feet -which makes it a great tree for small yards.

Dessert Willow Bloom, Rebecca Johnson © 2015Photograph by Rebecca Johnson

The flower colors range from mostly white with a tinge of pink to fuschia to an almost purple color, so there’s a color for almost any color palette.

One of my favorite things about this tree is that on summer evenings it releases a scent that is spicy verging to musky.

While “willow” is in its name, this tree is not related to willows (Salix spp) at all, but instead is related to Catalpas and is in the Trumpet Creeper family.

If you’re looking for a hardy tree with summer interest, you can’t go wrong with the Desert Willow.  TreeFolks will give away Desert Willow saplings at two Sapling Days events this month:  Austin Arbor Day Celebration on October 17th as well as at our Sapling Days giveaway at Whole Earth Provision Company on October 24th.

Rebecca Johnson is a ISA Certified Arborist and is passionate about teaching people the vital role that trees play in the health of our environment and communities.  You can follow Rebecca on Twitter @Arborholic.