Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Desert willow comes to the prairie

with 2 comments

Desert Willow Tree Flowering 5733

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On August 30th I photographed this desert willow tree, Chilopsis linearis, in full flower. The species is native from southern California to Texas in the United States and in parts of northern Mexico. Because desert willow does well in hot and dry places, and because it grows quickly, it has been planted as an ornamental in many places, including along highways in Texas (e.g. the US 183 freeway that forms the eastern boundary of my neighborhood). I found this desert willow on the restored prairie at what used to be Austin’s Mueller Airport.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 1, 2013 at 6:05 AM

2 Responses

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  1. I’m astonished. I had no idea there were willows other than the graceful “weeping willow” I grew up with. I think I might have seen this tree around and confused it with a slightly unhealthy oleander that had given up some leaves to drought and just wasn’t flowering properly.

    In fact, a friend and I were questioning each other in Galveston recently, trying to figure out if they’d been replanting some species of oleander we’d not seen before. We’re going to have to take another look.


    October 5, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    • People called this a desert willow because its leaves and branches are like those of various willows. Another pliant tree that has been called a willow (along with many other names) is Baccharis neglecta, known as false willow and jara dulce, i.e. sweet willow. In addition, Texas does have a true willow, the black willow, Salix nigra, which is common in the Austin area along creeks and around ponds. The weeping willow that we grew up with is from Asia, and its scientific name is Salix babylonica.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 5, 2013 at 11:04 PM

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