DesertUSA

Southwest Adventure, Living & Travel


Smoke Tree

Dalea spinosa

Smoke Tree

 

A member of the pea family (Fabaceae), the smoke tree derives its name from its plume-like growth and golden color, which give the tree the appearance of smoke. The smoke tree is a spiny, intricately branched shrub or tree that grows to a height of 20 feet. It has a small, crooked trunk with scaly, gray-brown bark. It has a compact crown of smoky gray branches and twigs with dense, pressed hairs and many small gland-dots.

The smoke tree's tiny, stalkless leaves are 1/8 by 1/2 inches and appear for only a few weeks each spring before the tree flowers. The leaves are gray, very hairy and have gland-dots and wavy edges. Since the leaves appear for only a few weeks each year, the smoky gray twigs must produce most of the plant's food by conducting photosynthesis themselves.

Range

The Sonoran Desert of extreme southern Nevada, southeastern California, western Arizona and northwestern Mexico.

Habitat

Smoke trees require relatively abundant water; they are often found along sandy or gravelly flats, arroyos and washes, often with creosote bush, from elevations below sea level to 1500 feet.

Flowers

Half-inch, dark purple or violet flowers grow in 1 1/2-inch clusters along leafless twigs. These colorful, pea-like flowers bloom in late spring and early summer.

Fruit

A small, hairy, egg-shaped pod ending in a point contains one brown, bean-like seed which matures in late summer but does not open. The pod itself is covered with fine, grayish-white hairs.


Smoke Tree

 

-- A.R Royo


Desert Plant & Wildflower Index
Animals of the Desert


Share this page on Facebook:


DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)


The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms

SEARCH THIS SITE










Wildflower book

Wildflower field guide ebook
find the wildflowers by color - Kindle, iPads and Smart phones.
$4.99

kindle button ---iTunes link

Mojave Desert Wildflowers Book
200 color photos

Hot temperatures in the desertAre you interested in the temperatures in the desert?

Click here to see current desert temperatures!


 
   
 
   
Copyright © 1996-2014 DesertUSA.com and Digital West Media, Inc.