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Desert Willow

Scientific Name: Chilopsis linearis
Plant Family: catalpa (Bignoniaceae)

Despite our hot and dry summers, there are a surprising number of species flower during the summer in the desert garden at MEMBG. One of these is desert willow (Chilopsis linearis), a small tree in the catalpa family (Bignoniaceae) that is native to desert washes in the Southwestern United States and Mexico. Its common name comes from the slender willow-like leaves. However, what makes desert willow such an attractive plant for desert gardens are the large burgundy to pink flowers in summer that fill its canopy and attract hummingbirds and large native bumblebees. Desert willow is drought and frost tolerant, and will grow quite rapidly if given extra water. A poultice made from the bark and leaves has been used to treat fungal infections of the skin.