Desert Willow

Chilopsis linearis

 
Desert Willow, Chilopsis linearis, Watercolor © by Michael Plagens

Watercolor from live specimen found along Sycamore Creek in the Mazatzal Mts., Maricopa Co., AZ, July 20, 1992.

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TREE. Along desert washes that have a reliable underground water source this tree can attain a height of 6 m or more. Drooping branches and willow-like leaves, but not at all related to true willows.

FLOWERS: Purple and pink tinged trumpets about 4 cm long. Flower color varies from white to deep magenta.
Desert Willow, Chilopsis linearis, flower, photo © by Michael Plagens
LEAVES: Simple leaves, 10 to 30 cm-long, strap-shaped, thickened and leathery. They have a shiny, resiny surface.

FRUIT: A long (15 cm) narrow pod packed with cottony seeds.

RANGE: Widely distributed along streams, riparian areas, and washes with deep alluvium and underground water source.

Wildlife: Buff-colored cocoons about 25 mm in length are made by the inchworm moth, Eucaterva variaria. The adult moth is white speckled with black. Also, a spectacular hawk moth, Manduca rustica, is known to use this plant in the larval stage.

Hummingbirds and large black carpenter bees, Xylocopa californica arizonensis, rely on the Desert Willow's flowers for nectar. Colorful leafhoppers known as sharpshooters can be found drawing sap from developing pods and shoots.

UNARMED: No thorns.

Carpenter Bee

Carpenter Bee

Chilopsis Sharpshooter

Chilopsis Sharpshooter

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Bignoniaceae -- Trumpet Vine Family

More Information:


Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 13 Nov. 2008,
updated 6 Aug. 2016.