Chilopsis linearis (Cav.) Sweet

  • Family: Bignoniaceae (catalpa & others, mostly tropical)
  • Common name: desert willow

    Shrub or small tree to 5 m (15 ft) tall. Leaves opposite or sometimes alternate, linear-lanceolate, simple, glabrous, 10-15 cm (4-6 in) long and about 1 cm (0.4 in) wide. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, usually densely wooly, each flower with a linear bract about as long as the pedicel. Flowers white to purplish-red, fragrant, funnel-shaped, bilaterally symmetric, 5-lobed, about 2 cm (0.8 in) long. Fruits cylindrical capsules up to 30 cm (12 in) long and 1.5 cm (0.6 in) thick.

    Distribution: Native to southwestern Texas and northern Mexico, west to southeastern California.
    Habitat: Normal habitat is floodplains, ravines, and dry streambeds in arid land. In Oklahoma, it is usually found at old homesites and in old shelterbelts.
    NWI status: none
    Comment: Desert willow has been planted in western Oklahoma as an ornamental and in shelterbelts. It persists for many years and may sometimes escape from cultivation. Chilopsis is derived from a Greek phrase describing the flower (lip-like); linearis refers to the long narrow leaves.

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/9/99
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