Chilopsis linearis

Chilopsis linearis - Desert Willow
Frying Pan Canyon, Cooke's Range
May 21, 2018

On a walk east of Hillsboro (June 2014) I found several Desert Willows blooming in a wash.  The common name of “willow” was apparently applied because of the plants long narrow leaves.  The scientific name for the plant is Chilopsis linearis linearis (the genus is monotypic but the species is, obviously, not).  In general, Desert Willows grow at elevations below 6,000 feet.  Their geographic range extends from New Mexico and Arizona south into Baja,  Sonora, and Chihuahua.  They can be quite dramatic in appearance.  Although they are usually less than 25’ tall, they have large showy flowers (pictured above) which will bloom from May until the first frost.  Like many plants in our region, it has a traditional medicinal use - in this case, the Desert Willow was used to treat fungal infections like Athlete’s Foot.

© Robert Barnes 2018-2023