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Native Plants

Native Plants

There are no better plants available to help a landscape evoke a sense of place than the plants found growing in the area naturally. The popularity and availability of native plants have greatly improved over the last twenty years. The Living Desert’s Palo Verde Garden Center continues to lead the way by offering one of the best selections of southwest and locally native plants. Many items are grown right at The Living Desert in the Propagation Nursery including the hard to find smoke tree Psorothamnus spinosus. Ask the nursery manager if you do not find what you are looking for. If you supply the demand at the nursery the growers will do their best to fill the demand.

Landscapes do not have to be comprised entirely of native plants to be effective. Incorporating even a few indigenous plants can help bridge the ever widening gaps between the natural open spaces on the valley floor and surrounding mountain slopes.

Some native plants to consider:

Blue Palo Verde                      Parkinsonia (Cercidium) florida
Ironwood                                 Olneya tesota
Desert Willow                          Chilopsis linearis
Western Honey Mesquite       Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana

There are a number of other large trees native to the canyons surrounding the Coachella Valley; these include sycamore (Platanus sp.), cottonwood (Populus sp.) alder (Alnus sp.), ash (Fraxinus sp.) and willow (Salix spp.). These trees are all found in riparian situations in our area with year round water availability. They are heavy water users.

Small Trees/ Large Shrubs
Cat Claw Acacia                     Senegalia (Acacia) greggii
Screwbean Mesquite              Prosopis pubescens
Smoke Tree                            Psorothamnus spinosus

Large Shrubs
California Juniper                    Juniperus californicus
Creosote                                 Larrea tridentata
Desert Apricot                         Prunus fremontii
Desert Lavender                     Hyptis emoryi
Four-wing Saltbush                 Atriplex canescens
Indigo Bush                             Psorothamnus schottii
Jojoba                                     Simmondsia chinensis
Quail Bush                              Atriplex lentiformis
Sugar Bush                             Rhus ovata
Wolfberry                                Lycium spp.

Acton Encelia                          Encelia actoni
Alkali Goldenbush                   Isocoma acradenia
Bladderpod                              Peritoma arborea
Brittlebush                               Encelia farinosa
Burrobush                               Ambrosia dumosa
California Buckwheat             Eriogonum fasiculatum
California Fuschia                   Epilobium californicum
Cheesebush                            Ambrosia salsola
Chuparosa                              Justicia californica
Coue’s Senna                         Senna covesii
Desert Holly                            Atriplex hymenelytra
Desert Mallow                         Sphaeralcea ambigua var. ambigua
Desert Milkweed                     Asclepias subulata
Goldeneye                              Bahiopsis parishii
Mormon Tea                           Ephedra nevadensis
Ephedra californica
Paperbag Bush                       Scutellaria mexicana
Pygmy Cedar                         Peucephyllum schottii
Rose Mallow                           Sphaeralcea ambigua var. rosacea
Santa Rosa Sage                    Salvia eremostachya
Sweetbush                              Bebbia juncea
Trixis                                       Trixis californica
White Sage                             Salvia apiana
Wishbone Bush                       Mirabilis laevis







Barrel Cactus                          Ferocactus cylindraceus
Beavertail                                Opuntia basilaris
Calico Hedgehog                    Echinocereus engelmannii
Desert Agave                          Agave deserti
Mohave Yucca                       Yucca schidigera
Ocotillo                                    Fouquieria splendens
Our Lord’s Candle                   Hesperoyucca whipplei
Parry’s Nolina                         Nolina parryi
Silver Cholla                            Opuntia echinocarpa
Staghorn Cholla                      Opuntia gamderi
Teddy Bear Cholla                  Opuntia bigelovii

When purchasing specimen size plants of succulents care should be taken to assure plants have been legally obtained, they should have a native plant tag which should be retained in your records or have been nursery grown.

Arizona Lupine                        Lupinus arizonicus
Canterbury Bells                     Phacaelia campanularia
Chia                                         Salvia columbariae
Desert Sunflower                    Geraea canescens
Dune Primrose                        Oenothera deltoides
Fremont Pincushion                Chaenactis fremontii
Sand Verbena                         Abronia villosa
Wild Heliotrope                        Phacaelia distans

Try sowing in the fall for some color in the spring.

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