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Desert Willow
Chilopsis linearis
About Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) Nurseries Show All Photos It is a small tree native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. Despite the common name Desert-willow, given because of its willow-like leaves, it is actually a member of the bignonia family, Bignoniaceae. It is commonly seen in washes and along riverbanks at elevations below 1500 meters in the Colorado and Mojave Deserts. Ranging from 1.5 to as much as 8 meters in height, it can have the general appearance of either a shrub or a small tree. The linear curved leaves, ranging from 10-26 centimeter in length and 2-4 millimeter broad, are deciduous. It has fragrant pink flowers that hummingbirds love.

Because it is winter deciduous, it will be leafless half of the year. However, in Spring and Summer its flowers justify inclusion in a sunny, inland garden.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
4.9 - 26.3 ft (1.5 - 8 m)

Max. Width
10 - 20 ft (3.0 - 6.1 m)

Upright, Weeping

Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate
Moderate, Fast

Winter Deciduous

Flower Color
Purple, Lavender, Pink, White

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer, Fall

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Perennial desert streams, or sandy washes or canyons where there is likely to be subsurface water for most of the year. In the low desert it is typically surrounded by creosote bush scrub. In higher desert, Joshua tree woodland


Elevation ?
27' - 7763'

Annual Precip. ?
2.6" - 24.1"

Summer Precip. ?
0.31" - 3.11"

Coldest Month ?
33.2° F - 62.5° F

Hottest Month ?
61.5° F - 88.8° F

Humidity ?
2.47 vpd - 46.25 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers sandy or decomposed granite soil with moisture

Soil Texture

Soil PH
6.0 - 9.0


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 15° F

Companion Plants
California Fan Palm, Blue Paloverde, Desert Ironwood, Brittlebush, Chuparosa, Desert Lavender

Wildlife Attracted
Hummingbirds and bees are highly attracted to this plant when in bloom

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist


As desired, during the dormant season

Propagation ?
Seed germinates readily. May also be propagated by cuttings.  For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Hummingbird Gardens, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Desert-willow, Desertwillow, Given Because, Its Willow-like Leaves

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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