Virginia Tech Dendrology

Jerusalem thorn Fabaceae Parkinsonia aculeata L. Listen to the Latin symbol: PAAC3
Leaf: Alternate, doubly compound (appear singly compound), peculiar looking leaves, 2 to 4 long (10 to 15 inches) petiolules each with numerous (20 to 30) very small (1/8 inch long), oblong leaflets that are quickly deciduous, petiolules persist longer and appear like long curving streamers, leaflet green to gray-green above.
Flower: Attractive, yellow somewhat pea-like flowers, 5 petals, the largest petal reddish, appear in great abundance in spring and summer.
Fruit: Brown, 3 to 4 inch, pea-like pod, constricted between seeds, long pointed, ripen in late summer.
Twig: Slender, yellow-green to yellow-brown, typically paired or even triple spines occur at leaf bases, one of which is generally larger.
Bark: Initially blue to yellow-green and smooth, later turning gray with a tight scaly patches.
Form: A small, spiny tree with a drooping, spreading open crown, reaches heights of 40 feet.
Looks like: blue paloverde - yellow paloverde
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Parkinsonia aculeata is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting Jerusalem thorn.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson