The tree known in the U.S./Mexico borderlands as desert ironwood or palo fierro (Olneya tesota) is one of many woody legumes found in washes and hillside drainages in the Sonoran Desert. Although well-known for these functions as a “nurse tree”, scientists are just discovering how long-lived the trees can be—some have been dated to 800 to 1,500 years old—making Ironwood the first and oldest desert nurse tree! The Ironwood’s presence can increase the number of bird species in a habitat by as much as 63 percent, studies have shown. Germination rates are higher and seedling survival rates better due to the improved soil conditions. Ironwood, Olneya tesota, is an excellent evergreen tree that is native to the Sonoran Desert and we like to use them as a screen and to cast the right amount of light shade in any landscape. It belongs to the Fabaceae or pea family. In turn, the greater diversity of plants growing in ironwood nurseries attracts a greater diversity of birds, both breeding and migratory. Culture This tough desert tree can tolerate long periods of drought, although extra water a few times a month in the summer can increase the normally slow growth rate. This single- or multi-trunk tree reaches heights of twenty-five feet with a nearly equal spread, and is slow-growing. Many Indian tribes toast and grind the seeds to make protein-rich flour, or gruel that tastes suspiciously like peanut butter. The Ironwood gets its name from its dense, strong iron-like wood. The relationship between succulent cacti and ironwoods is especially well documented. 2) The ironwood tree is an evergreen. The most well known contemporary cultural use of ironwood is by the Seri and Mexican carvers of coastal Sonora. Native to Sonoran Desert. Desert ironwood is a member of the pea family and its leaves and flowers resemble the sweet pea. Many species of Sonoran wildlife depend on it for survival. 11 talking about this. The ironwood tree is the sole member of the genus Olneya and is named for the dense, dark heavy wood it produces. As the desert ironwood grows, it alters the environment around itself, and creates a micro-habitat. The Desert Ironwood Tree is a flowering tree native to North America. Upper branches may droop and can be pruned back to maintain clearance height if needed. Requirements: Level 1 Item Level 20 Statistics & Bonuses: Repairs, Recycle & Style: Sells for x 57: Rebuild Lists. 3) Ironwood trees are too hard for birds to create nesting cavities inside them. Fueled by buffelgrass, these hot burning wildfires destroy ironwood and other trees and cactus. With 20 years combined experience in Arizona landscape Michael and Brandon are dedicated to providing their best service to our clients! The desert ironwood, or palo fierro in Spanish, provides desert plants and animals with the food and shelter they need to survive. Finally, like other legumes, they alter the soil composition beneath their canopies, enriching the soil with nutrients such as nitrogen. copyright © 2020 Horticulture Unlimited, Inc. All rights reserved. However the laws are difficult to enforce, and the incentive to cut dense, heavy ironwood is high among poor woodcutters paid by the weight of wood collected per day. It is hardy to about twenty degrees Fahrenheit and needs some protection from frosts when young. The reason for its common name becomes immediately apparent if you ever tap the trunk with your knuckles. It measures 33 feet high, with a trunk circumference of 198 inches and a crown spread of 55 feet. The Desert Ironwood comes from the Pea family and can only be found in the Southwestern part of Arizona, Southern California and Northwestern part of Mexico. We are staying updated on all recent developments and our primary concerns is to our clients and staff. Use it as a screen, background, buffer tree, or as a transitional plant to separate the desert from more tropical and high water-use plantings. Recent studies show that without the protective cover of desert legumes, the distributional ranges of saguaro, organ pipe, and senita cactus would retreat many miles, to more southern, frost-free areas. Desert ironwood is a member of the pea family and its leaves and flowers resemble the sweet pea. Desert ironwoods are from the pea family and their leaves and flowers resemble those of the sweetpea. It is one of the many species of foliage available in Planet Zoo. Because most of these uses utilized either renewable resources (pods, seeds, flowers) or salvaged wood from already dead trees, their impact on ancient ironwood forests was negligible. These seeds provide high-protein nourishment for many Sonoran desert creatures as well as humans. The desert ironwood tree, Olneya tesota, is a member of the legume family and is the only species in its genus. More than 230 plant species have been found starting their growth under an Ironwood “nurse plant.” As for other creatures, there are more than 60 reptiles and 64 mammals that use the Ironwood for forage, cover and as a place to give birth to their young. The young trees have branches with thorns that disappear as they age. Its wood even sinks in water. HOURS: Monday – Friday 07:00am – 5:00pm Saturday 08:00am – 5:00pm Sunday 09:00am – 4:00pm Desert Ironwood is one of our favorites for woodturning because it turns to a buttery-smooth finish! We obtain necessary materials for installation purposes only, and recommend consulting a nursery or supplier for direct purchasing needs. The inflorescence is an axillary raceme with 2–4 pea-type flowers. Ironwood is one of the oldest living tree species and provides desert plants and animals with nutrients and shelter, providing shade for quail, doves and small rodents. Any staff showing signs or symptoms of illness are being advised to stay home. Desert ironwood, or palo fierro in Spanish, provides many wildlife and plants with habitat and resources critical to their survival. It ranks among the most ecologically and economically important plant species in the region. Native Americans ground the roots into a paste to cure gum infections. Unlike other desert trees, ironwood rarely sheds all its leaves, so that its canopy provides shade and protection from frost and extreme heat year round. Has thorns. Do not over-water this tree or plant it with other vegetation that requires a lot of irrigation. In late spring, clusters of showy pinkish flowers appear, helping to bring beautiful spring color and curb appeal to any landscape style! It is so heavy that if you drop a piece of ironwood in water, it will sink. They can be easily found in the sand marshes of the desert because the possibility of water being there is much higher than most places in the desert. Staff is eligible to use their available paid sick time for any such occurrence of illness. The tree is drought-resistant, prefers well-draining soil, full sun, and reflected heat. Supervisory staff is secondarily monitoring all workers for signs of illness and are sending home anyone who displays symptoms of illness prior to their entrance to our facility. Brown, beanlike seedpods grow after the flowers, each containing 1 to 4 shiny brown seeds. One of the heaviest woods in the world, a mere cubic foot of Ironwood can weigh up to 66 pounds. Ironwood generates a chain of influences on associated understory plants, affecting their dispersal, germination, establishment, and rates of growth as well as reproduction. Desert Ironwood tree distribution map. Fast & Free shipping on many items! Its ecological importance comes largely through the roles it plays for over 500 other species of plants and animals in the Sonoran Desert. We offer online meetings for your comfort. In Mexico, woodcutting alone causes an average 17% reduction in ironwood’s dominance in the vegetation of the areas studied. It is commonly found in the deserts of the Southwest, especially Arizona. Cleaning & sanitizing of commonly touched areas of our facility on a daily (or more frequent) basis. In its natural habitat, it sheds its leaves during dry periods to conserve water. Over-watering of the ironwood can cause its demise. Temperatures around 20 degrees Fahrenheit will damage foliage, and prolonged freezing can kill the tree. DESERT IRONWOOD NOMENCLATURE from DesertHarvesters.org Compiled by Jill Lorenzini Family: Fabaceae or Leguminosae (Pea family) Latin name: Olneya tesota Tohono O’odham Name: ???? As with all young plants and trees when they are small and tender, the growth of the branches and limbs can be directed. This giant specimen is in Ironwood Forest National Monument. The blossoms grow in arches at the end of the branches in a beautiful color display. Named for … ), which is commonly known as ironwood or desert ironwood. The color may be like the picture above or any variation of light to very dark browns, with or without lighter areas. They also function as prey refugia, providing herbs and cacti protection from herbivores preying on vulnerable plant seedlings. Single or multi-trunked, the Ironwood is considered an evergreen tree despite the fact that its leaves only live one year. Older trees can be pruned to remove lower branches and excess stems. The Ironwood is never really without leaves. Ironwood is also a good choice for shading a patio or an informal sitting area. The small bluish-green leaves grow in pairs with a pair of spines located beneath each leaf. Ironwood is the dominant nurse plant in some subregions of the Sonoran Desert. *Our plant guide provides informational resources regarding plants that we commonly use. Additional and fascinating information about Desert Ironwood trees can be found on the web site of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum as part of the Center for Sonoran Desert Studies. It is one of the hardest and densest woods in the world, with a specific gravity around 1.2 or more. As nurse plants, ironwoods provide safe sites for seed dispersal, seedling protection from extreme cold and freezes, and sapling protection from extreme heat and damaging radiation. In one area surrounding Tucson, the Ironwood helps support at least 674 plant and animal species. Doves, quails, coyotes and small rodents eat the plant’s seeds, which taste similar to peanuts. Horticulture Unlimited is here to help you. Other parts of the plant have been used through the centuries for various things. 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