With lush, fragrant leaves that can remain on the tree all year, palo azul (Eysenhardtia orthocarpa) makes a smart addition to a water-wise backyard. Native to the American Southwest, this small bush also produces white flowers that appear in spring and bloom through summer, adding a sweet scent to your garden.
Hot and Cold
Palo azul is a tolerant plant -- cold hardy yet drought resistant. It grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11, and survives down to to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. With enough water, it grows to more than 20 feet tall and spreads 12 feet. It remains more compact if water is limited. The multitrunked tree provides a light and lacy over-canopy in your backyard, and because it is thornless and noninvasive, it makes a gracious and welcome garden plant.
Kidneywood and Other Names
It's a small tree to carry so many names. Palo azul, which means green stick in Spanish, is only one common name; others include kidneywood, palo dulce and Tahitian kidneywood. Other botanical names include Eysenhardtia amorphoides orthocarpa Eysenhardtia amorphoides var. orthocarpa and Viborquia orthocarpa.
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