Scientific: Vauquelinia californica
Common: Arizona rosewood
Family: Rosaceae
Origin: Upper Sonoran Desert scrub above 2,500 feet elevation in south Arizona and central Baja California, often found coexisting in the Arizona uplands with with Dodonaea viscosa.

Pronounciation: Va-u-que-LEN-ee-a kal-i-FOR-ni-ka

Hardiness zones
USDA 8-10

Landscape Use: Xeriscape, background, screen, informal hedge, highway plantings, floral accent, landscape standard as a small street side tree.

Form & Character: Evergreen shrub, informally formal, slightly stiff and brittle.

Growth Habit: Slow to moderate rate of growth to 10 to 25 feet, though easily kept at 6 to 8 feet with proper water and pruning management. Some report that Arizona rosewood in Phoenix has a vigorous habit. They are mistaken, though certainly it's growth rate and ultimate size is enhanced by supplemental irrigation.

Foliage/texture: Lanceolate and leathery, medium to dark dull green leaves with serrate margins and prominent central mid-vein, 4 inches in length and 1/2 inch in width, petioles reddish, stems gray; medium texture.

Flowers & fruits: Small white flowers in umbels followed by ugly brown small brown fruit, persistent.

Seasonal color: White flowers over a relatively short period of time, late April to May.

Temperature: Tolerant of all but very hottest weather, foliage begins to yellow. You and I know those days as when the thermometer leaps above 110oF.

Light: Partial to full sun, only moderately tolerates reflective heat in low desert.

Soil: Well drained rocky soil is best.

Watering: Infrequent deep supplement irrigations during summer are needed.

Pruning: Prune lightly only to shape, do not shear.

Propagation: Seed, sometimes cutting.

Disease and pests: Texas root rot

Additional comments: Valued as a nonpoisonous replacement for oleander, although it's early summer flowering is not as spectacular and occurs over only a couple of weeks. Young Arizona rosewood plants are slow to establish in the the landscape and are prone to heat stress.

In general, Arizona rosewood performs better in Tucson than Phoenix because the former is at higher elevation and is slightly cooler overall. Arizona rosewood is also highly sensitive (severe foliar chlorosis) to ground applied pre-emergent herbicides like PrincepTM.

Genus named after Louis Nicolas Vauquelin (1765-1827), French chemist and botanist. Although the plant is found in isolated pockets in Baja California, the species name, californica, "from California", is misleading to some since this plant does not naturally occur in the state of California. However, botanists for the last 150 years have typically treated Alta California (the state of California) and Baja California as one unit. Other native Vauquelinia species include Vauquelinia angustifolia and Vauquelinia corymbosa ssp. angustifolia.