California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Chilopsis linearis ~ Desert Willow

Chilopsis linearis is a great small tree for a dry garden. The Desert Willow gets to 15-20 feet tall and wide. Chilopsis linearis naturally grows more as a bush but can be trained as a tree if you start early and select just a few of the branches. Chilopsis linearis has 1.5-2 inch white to purple flowers with purple markings. Desert Willow can take temperatures as low as 10 degrees. Chilopsis linearis will do poorly if given normal garden water. Irrigation should be limited as soon as the plants become established. The Desert Willow bloom Spring through Summer and will repeat if a significant rain comes out of season. Chilopsis linearis flowers and leaves are used medicinally as both a tea and as a wash or bath for bacterial and fungal diseases. The Spanish name for the Desert Willow is Mimbre, meaning willow-like. The Desert Willow is not a true willow but is in the Bignoniaceae with the Catalpa and the related Chilopsis cross Chitalpa Pink Dawn. Chilopsis linearis is native through the California Deserts into Mexico and as fare east as Texas. The Desert Willow can be found from 2000-5000 feet in washes and streamsides. With its substantial root system Chilopsis linearis is a good plant choice for bank stabilization.

High resolution photos of Chilopsis linearis are part of our garden image collection

Chilopsis linearis, Desert Willow