SelecTree: Tree Detail
Photo Locations: Anza-Borrego State Park, Joshua Tree and The Living Desert - Palm Desert, CA
Desert ironwood refers to the hard, heavy heartwood of this tree. Peanut flavored seeds were roasted by Native Americans.
Native to Sonoran Desert.
An Olneya tesota in Riverside County is registered as a California Big Tree. It measures 33 feet high, with a trunk circumference of 198 inches and a crown spread of 55 feet.
Erect or Spreading with a Low Canopy.
Rounded or Vase Shape.
Has Evergreen foliage.
Height: 15 - 30 feet.
Width: 15 - 30 feet.
Growth Rate: 12 Inches per Year.
Longevity 50 to 150 years.
Leaves Pinnately Compound Even, Gray Green, No Change, Evergreen.
Flowers Showy. Lavender or Pink. Flowers in Summer. Has perfect flowers (male and female parts in each flower).
Brown or Mostly Green Pod, Large (1.50 - 3.00 inches), fruiting in Summer or Fall.
Bark Dark Gray, Light Gray or Red Brown, Exfoliating, Scaly or Striated.
Shading Capacity Rated as Moderately Low in Leaf.
Litter Issue is Dry Fruit.
Tree Site Conditions & Constraints
Sunset Zones 8 - 9, 11 - 14, and 18 - 23.
USDA Hardiness Zones 9 - 10.
Exposure Full Sun.
Moist to Dry Soil.
Loam or Sand Texture.
Neutral to Highly Alkaline Soil pH.
Seaside Tolerance is Not Suited.
Health, Safety & Environmental Concerns
Branch Strength Rated as Strong.
Root Damage Potential Rated as Low.
None Known Health Hazard.
Biogenic Emissions considered Moderate.
Desirable Wildlife Plant.
Special Uses & Values
Cite this tree:
SelecTree. "Olneya tesota Tree Record." 1995-2019. May 26, 2019.
< https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/olneya-tesota >