Parkinsonia aculeata

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Parkinsonia aculeata
Park acul.jpg
Photo by Dennis Girard, Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae ⁄ Leguminosae
Genus: Parkinsonia
Species: P. aculeata
Binomial name
Parkinsonia aculeata
Park acul dist.jpg
Natural range of Parkinsonia aculeata from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Jerusalem thorn; Mexican Palo Verde

Taxonomic notes



It is a native to Mexico but has spread and become naturalized in Florida.[1]



Habitats include grasslands, open woodlands, rangelands, pastures, waste areas, disturbed sites, roadsides, and near creeks.[2] It is adapted to life in the desert, by modified transpiration techniques and producing food with photosynthetic tissue in the bark.[3] Soil types include sandy loam, sand, clay, and loam. [4] [5]

If growing in an over-irrigated spot, P. aculeata is susceptible to powdery mildew and root rot.[4]


Flowers and fruits March through August. [5]

Seed dispersal

Seeds are dispersed by birds and other animals.[2]

Seed bank and germination

Seeds have a tegumentary dormancy which allows them to last a long time in seed banks until germination conditions are favorable. [6]


The following Hymenoptera families and species were observed visiting flowers of Parkinsonia aculeata at Archbold Biological Station: [7]

Apidae: Apis mellifera

Colletidae: Hylaeus confluens

Megachilidae: Anthidiellum notatum rufomaculatum, A. perplexum, Anthidium maculifrons, Coelioxys germana, C. sayi, C. texana, Dianthidium floridiense, Dolichostelis louisae, Heriades leavitti, Megachile brevis pseudobrevis, M. exilis parexilis, M. frugalis, M. georgica, M. inimica, M. integra, M. mendica, M. petulans, M. policaris, M. rugifrons, M. texana

Sphecidae: Ectemnius rufipes ais

Vespidae: Polistes exclamans

Conservation and management

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. [[1]] Pacific Horticulture. Accessed: February 17, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 [[2]] Accessed: February 16, 2016
  3. [[3]] Floridata. Accessed: February 16, 2016
  4. 4.0 4.1 [[4]] Accessed: February 16, 2016
  5. 5.0 5.1 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: October 2015. Collectors: Antonia Araiza, Robert Blaisdell, Kurt Blum, Ted Bradley, Richard Carter, Felipe Cisneros, J. Dwyer, Augustin Gamez, Robert K. Godfrey, James Henrickson, B.F. Meck, William R. Stimson, David W. Thompson, Edwin L. Tyson. States and Counties: Arizona: Maricopa. Florida: Dade, Leon, Pinellas. South Carolina: Beaufort. Texas: Live Oak, Victoria, Webb, Zapata. Countries: Costa Rica, Mexico. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  6. Agra, PFM, et al. "Methods for Overcoming Dormancy of Parkinsonia Aculeata L. Seeds."SEMINA-CIENCIAS AGRARIAS36.3 (2015): 1191-202.
  7. Deyrup, M.A. and N.D. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.