Leaf: Alternate, deciduous and present for only short periods after rain in spring, 1/4 inch long, ovate to elliptical, sometimes notched at the tip, entire margins, yellow-green to gray-green.
Flower: Small, 1/4 inch across, 4 light greenish-white petals, in tight, short bunches along twigs, appearing throughout the year but most heavily after rains in the fall.
Fruit: Small, 1/4 inch, shiny black berry in bunches along stems, ripen throughout the year.
Twig: Stiff, green to gray-green, mostly leafless; numerous 1 to 2 inch long side branches each ending in a sharp, dark brown thorn, mostly branches at right angles.
Bark: Initially greenish but becoming dark gray-brown, rough and scaly.
Form: A shrub up to 10 feet tall, densely branched and spiny, occasionally a twisted small tree to 20 feet.
Looks like: crucifixion thorn - yellow paloverde - desert smoke tree - crucifixion thorn
Additional Range Information: Koeberlinia spinosa is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. Download the full-size PDF map.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2019 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654; range map source information