Pronounciation: Chill-OP-sis lin-ee-AIR-is
Sunset 11-13, 18-21
Landscape Use: Suggests water in an arid zone landscape design, background screen, summer accent tree, multiple or single trunk residential tree, desert park tree.
Form & Character: Desert willow has a long deciduous habit, often up to 6 to months (November to April). It is an open and airy small tree that is mostly multiple trunk, arid, colorful during the summer, but "sticks and seeds" during the winter. A real "Jekyll and Hyde" type of native landscape plant.
Growth Habit: Woody, deciduous, perennial large shrub to small tree, brittle wood, vigorously upright to weeping to 15 to 35 feet in height (depending on water availability) with equal to greater spread, multi-trunk.
Foliage/texture: Pale to bright green foliage, leaves alternate, linear to lanceolate, 2 to 5 inches long, mostly glabrous, sometimes falcate, drops leaves in early fall, bark shaggy, no fall color; medium fine texture.
Flowers & fruits: Typically trumpet shaped flowers with white corolla and yellow fused anthers, mottled inside, arranged in terminal clusters, petal colors ranging from white to pink to deep lavender, light fragrance, pollinated by carpenter bees; fruits are long, linear, ugly and messy in summer, several 1/3 to 1/2 inch long, light brown, oval seeds are encased within a two-celled, very indehiscent capsule. Seeds have a fringe of soft white hairs at each end which aid in wind dispersal.
Seasonal color: Light to deep purple/violet from late spring to early fall.
Light: Full sun
Watering: Needs some supplemental summer water for best (dense foliar cover) performance.
Pruning: Selective pruning of branches can improve the appearance of this otherwise desert willow ends up looking like a 'rangy-looking' small tree.
Disease and pests: Aphids during spring an Xylella fastidosa (Pearce's disease), a leaf scorch bacteria that normally infects grapes.
Additional comments: Attracts birds, and looks unsightly during winter. Hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers during the summer.
There are many named cultivars that exist locally that are have unique flower and form characteristics. Some local Phoenix cultivars of desert willow include: