Botanical name Common name

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Abstracted from Pima County Regulated Flood Control District, “Regulated Riparian Habitat Mitigation Standards and Implementation Guidelines, 2010.

Botanical name

Common name

Growth form

Water Use

Lifespan, elevation, size

Seasonality; flower, fruit, berries, other

Plant associations

Animal Relationships


Acacia constricta

Whitethorn acacia

Perennial shrub/small tree


Perennial; 2500’-5000’, occurs in a variety of settings including washes, slopes, shallow caliche-lined soils and grasslands; to 15’ tall

Deciduous; very small yellow-orange flowers in spherical clusters present May-September, followed by seedpods; pairs of whitish spines on branches; nitrogen-fixer

Midstory shrubby tree occurring in a variety of habitats; often associated with velvet mesquite, desert hackberry, wolfberry, and various cacti

Nectar: eaten by insects and nectar-eating birds including verdin; Seeds: eaten by a wide variety of birds and other wildlife; Foliage: eaten by deer and jackrabbits; host plant for larval butterflies; Provides cover and nest sites for birds

Acacia greggii

Catclaw acacia

Perennial Tree


Long-lived perennial; below 5000’, occurs within and along slopes, canyons, riparian bottomlands, and desert washes; shrub or small tree to 20’ tall

Small yellow flowers on cylindrical spikes bloom April–October; seedpods produced in summer to fall; semi-deciduous in winter and extreme drought; has small but sharp “cat-claw-like” thorns; nitrogen-fixer

Under- to mid-story shrub on slopes, along washes; occasionally a tree where moisture plentiful; associated with common xeroriparian species such as velvet mesquite, desert hackberry, and graythorn.

Seeds: eaten by birds and other wildlife; Nectar: attracts butterflies and other insects including ants, which in turn attract horned lizards; Shelter for a wide variety of wildlife

Celtis laevigata (Celtis reticulata)


Canyon hackberry

Perennial Tree


Long-lived perennial; 1500’-6000’; occurs in moist riverbeds, and along intermittent streams,, and canyons; to 35’ tall

Deciduous; very small greenish flower blooms March-April; small reddish fruits available June to November

Midstory to overstory tree associated with Mexican elderberry, velvet ash, Fremont cottonwood, velvet mesquite, western soapberry, and Arizona walnut

Berries: eaten by a wild variety of wildlife; Provides cover and nest sites for birds including raptors

Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow

Perennial shrub/small tree


Perennial, moderate lifespan; 1500’ – 5000’, occurs in desert flats, and along washes and streams; to 25’

Deciduous; showy lavender pea-shaped blooms Apr–Aug/Sep

Midstory to overstory tree in variety of upland and riparian situations; commonly associated with desert wash communities including velvet mesquite, Mexican elderberry, and desert hackberry.

Nectar: consumed by hummingbirds, insects including bees (bumble bees, carpenter bees, and others), and nectar-eating birds; Insects attracted by nectar provide food for insect-eating birds; Leaves: host plant for larvae of pollinating moths; Shelter and nesting for birds and other wildlife

Fraxinus velutina

Arizona ash, Velvet ash

Perennial Tree


Perennial; 2000‘– 7000’; within and along streams, moist canyons and washes; to 30’ tall

Deciduous; Blooms March-April; very small yellow flowers appear before leaves

Overstory tree in riparian bottomlands; associated with Arizona walnut, netleaf hackberry, and Mexican elderberry.

Seeds: eaten by a wide variety of wildlife

Juglans major

Arizona black walnut

Perennial Tree


Long-lived perennial; 3000’-7000’; occurs in streams and moist canyons from desert to oak or pine forestlands; to 50’ tall

Deciduous; small greenish blooms before or during spring or summer leaf growth; produces large, edible nut.

Mid-or overstory tree in moist areas; associated with velvet ash, Mexican elderberry, Acacia spp.

Nuts: eaten by a wide variety of wildlife; provides shelter, including nesting cavities, for birds and other wildlife

Olneya tesota

Desert Ironwood

Perennial Tree


Long-lived perennial; below 2500’, occurs on foothills and desert

slopes where cold air doesn’t settle; 26’to 30' tall

Purple, pink or white pea-like

flowers bloom May–June; seedpods

produced June-July; pairs of spines emerge from stems at base of leaves; nitrogen-fixer.

Mid-sized desert tree; associated

with saguaro, desert hackberry,

wolfberry, graythorn, and desert lavender

Seeds: eaten by many animals. Flowers: food for nectar-eating birds.

Leaves and twigs: browse for bighorn sheep and mule deer. Retains leaves during summer drought; important for breeding and year-round thermal shelter. Keystone species due to abundamce of wildlife that relies on it.

Parkinsonia florida (Cercidium floridum )

Blue paloverde

Perennial Tree


Perennial, moderate age; 500’–4000’, occurs in washes, valleys, and floodplains, grasslands; to 30’ tall

Bright yellow flowers bloom April–May; seedpods appear May-June; winter and drought deciduous; some spines on branches and stems; needs higher moisture levels than foothills paloverde; nitrogen-fixer

Mid- to overstory associate within a wide variety of habitats including desert, grassland and xeroriparian understory; often associated with velvet mesquite and desert hackberry

Seeds: eaten by a variety of wildlife; Nectar: used by bees and other insects and nectar-eating birds; Fallen flowers: eaten by desert tortoise and other wildlife species; Branches: provide nesting sites for numerous bird species and nighttime roosts for many wildlife species; Host plant for mistletoe which is a key food source for phainopepla;

Parkinsonia microphylla

(Cercidium microphyllum)

Foothills Palo Verde, yellow palo verde

Perennial Tree


Long-lived perennial; 500-4000’; occurs throughout Sonoran desertscrub habitats and along washes and streams; slow to medium growth rate, depending on water availability; shrub or tree to 26’ tall

Large yellow flowers bloom Mar-May; seedpods mature June-July; tolerates drier condtions than blue paloverde; nitrogen-fixer.

Mid to overstory associate within a wide variety of habitats, including dersert, grassland, and xeroriparian understory; often associated with saguaro and other cacti, creosotebush, desert ironwood, and mesquite.

Seeds: eaten by birds and mammals. Flowers: provide pollen and nectar for insects, including solitary bees; also eaten by wildlife. Branches: used for nesting and roosting sites; host for mistletoe that is food of phainopepla and other birds.

Platanus wrightii

Arizona sycamore

Perennial Tree


Perennial; 2000’-6000’, occurs within and along streams and rocky canyons; to 80’ tall

Deciduous; inconspicuous flowers bloom March-April; flowers followed by cylindrical fruits

Overstory tree in canyons near streams; associated with Arizona walnut, Fremont cottonwood, and Goodding’s willow

Seeds: eaten by wildlife; Leaves, stems, wood: utilized by beaver;Provides habitat for wildlife including sites for cavity-nesting birds

Populus fremontii ssp. Fremontii

Fremont cottonwood

Perennial Tree


Long-lived perennial; 150– 6000’; occurs along streams, rivers, and

cienegas with surface water or near-surface groundwater; to 100’ tall

Deciduous; very small, green-yellow flowers bloom early spring (often late February in Tucson area)

Overstory tree in moist areas along streams and rivers, or elsewhere where water table is near surface; associated with Arizona sycamore, Arizona ash, Goodding’s willow, sacaton, grasslands, and canyon grape

Twigs and foliage: eaten by deer, beaver, and other mammals. Buds and catkins: eaten by

birds. Insects attracted by fragrant buds provide

additional forage for wildlife. Large size offers abundant sheltering, resting, nesting and

foraging habitat for numerous wildlife species

Prosopis pubescens

Screwbean mesquite

Perennial Tree


Perennial, moderate lifespan; below 4000’, occurs in floodplains and bottomlands; to 15-20’ tall.

Deciduous; small, yellow flowers in clusters; blooms May-August; seedpods in summer-falll; branches have spines; nitrogen-fixer.

Medium-sized tree; fixes nitrogen in soil; associates with velvet mesquite, wolfberry, graythorn, and four-winged saltbush.

Seeds and pods: eaten by a wide variety of wildlife; host plant for mistletoe, which is an important food source for phainopepla and other birds.

Prosopis velutina

Velvet mesquite

Perennial tree


Long-lived perennial; 1000’-5000’; occurs in riparian floodplains; along washes, on scrubland slopes, and scattered in grasslands; generally to 30’ tall, but larger in old-growth bosques in bottomlands

Deciduous; clusters of yellow flowers bloom April-May, and again in August; seedpods are produced June-September; nitrogen-fixer

Mid- to over-story tree associated with wide variety of desert and riparian plants including saltbush, wolfberry, desert hackberry, graythorn, desert lavender, and a wide variety of grasses and forbs

Seeds, pods, bark, twigs and leaves: eaten by a wide variety of wildlife including birds, bighorn sheep, deer, antelope, coyote, and rodents; Flowers: attract 60 species of native bees, plus wasps and butterflies; Nectar and larval plant for butterflies; Nesting sites: utilized by white winged doves, mourning doves, and many other birds; Host plant for mistletoe, which is an important food source for phainopepla and other birds; Insects on plant gleaned by birds

Quercus emoryi

Emory oak

Perennial; 4,000 – 7,000’, occurs on dry slopes, and along moist canyons in grasslands; shrub or small tree to 50’

Evergreen; small inconspicuous flowers appear in spring; acorns produced in summer

Midstory to overstory tree in variety of mid- to high-elevation settings; often along drainages in grassland settings.

Leaves and stems: browse for deer; Acorns: eaten by a variety of wildlife; Perennial cover valued by a wide variety of wildlife

Salix gooddingii

Goodding’s willow

Perennial Tree


Perennial; below 7000’, occurs along streams, rivers, and moist bottomlands with surface water or near-surface groundwater; to 45’ tall

Deciduous; tiny flowers in bunches bloom in spring and then release seeds that float in cottony fluff

Mid to overstory tree, often draping branches to the ground, associated with Fremont cottonwood, velvet ash, and canyon grape

Twigs and foliage: eaten by deer, beaver, and other mammals; Buds and catkins: eaten by birds, sites for insect gleaning birds; Dense cover: provides thermal shelter and cover from predators, and sheltered nest sites

Sambucus nigra ssp. Cerulea (Sambucus mexicana)

Mexican elderberry, blue elderberry

Perennial shrub/ small tree


Perennial; 1000’ – 4000’, occurs along streams, rivers, and bottomlands, and scattered across moist grasslands; shrub to small tree to 30’ tall.

Drought deciduous; yellow-white cluster of small blooms appears March-June; small, abundant berries May-October

Mid-sized tree, occasionally large, associated with Goodding’s willow, velvet mequite, netleaf hackberry, graythorn, climbing milkweed, and old man’s beard.

Berries: eaten by a wide variety of wildlife; Foliage: eaten by deer, livestock, and other mammals.

Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii

Western soapberry

Perennial Tree


Perennial; 2,400’ – 6,000’; occurs in canyons, streams, desert grasslands, and oak woodlands; 20’ to 50’ tall

Deciduous; small white flower appears May – August, followed by yellowish berries

Multi-trunked tree occurring in riparian communities; common codominants include Arizona black walnut and velvet ash

Leaves and twigs: generally not palatable for wildlife due to the presence of poisonous saponids; Nectar: eaten by butterflies Clonal growth provides dense cover for a numerous wildlife species


Ambrosia deltoidea

Triangle-leaf bursage

Perennial shrub or subshrub


Perennial, ,1000-3000', low-growing, less than 2’ tall. Often in nearly pure stands on bajadas, plains, and mesas.

Evergreen; inconspicuous pale yellow-green flowers, fruit a small bur. Flowers February to July.

Low-growing subshrub prefers coarse, rapidly drained soils. Often associated with foothill paloverde and saguaro.

Flowers probably provide nectar and pollen for insects. Plant provides cover for small vertebrates.

Anisacanthus thurberi (Drejera thurberi)

Desert honey-


Perennial Shrub


Perennial; 2500-5500’, colonizes sandy washes, canyons, and

riparian bottomlands; upright shrub to 6’ tall

Showy red to orange flowers appear mostly in spring, but during other times when adequate moisture is present

Understory shrub, sometimes forming large clumps; often found alongside desert washes with velvet mesquite, ironwood, paloverde,

chuperosa, and desert willow

Nectar and pollen: eaten by hummingbirds and solitary bees; Leaves and twigs: browsed by

bighorn sheep, cattle, and other mammals;

Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly milkweed

Perennial subshrub


Perennial; 4,000 – 8,000’, dry grasslands, meadows; Bushy to 3’ high

Low to mid-sized herb with bright orange or yellow flower blooming May – September

Low to mid-sized meadow herb

Host plant for several butterfly species.

Atriplex canescens

Four-winged saltbush

Perennial shrub


Perennial; 2000’-8000’; occurs in valleys and along washes, and in sandy soil from creosote valleys to pinyon flats; shrub to 8’ tall

Evergreen; inconspicuous pale flowers bloom July - August; prominent winged seeds present April-September; alkaline tolerant

Mid-sized to large shrub; associated with variety of low to mid-elevation plant communities including triange bursage, burrobrush and grasses and forsbs

Seeds: eaten by birds and small mammals; Insects attracted to flowers are gleaned by birds; Leaves and twigs: valuable forage for mammals including deer; Plant provides good cover and nesting sites

Atriplex lentiformis


Perennial Shrub


Perennial; below 4000’; inhabits a range of dry to moist soils in desert flats, floodplains and drainages; dense shrub, to 8’ tall and 12’ wide

Semi-deciduous; small green flower blooms February-April; alkaline tolerant

Mid- to large-sized shrub in open areas or under- to mid-story in other areas; frequent associates include velvet mesquite, four-winged saltbush, and saltgrass

Seeds: eaten by quail and other birds; Flowers: provide pollen and nectar for bees; Twigs and foliage: browsed by deer, pronghorn and bighorn sheep; Cover plant for wildlife including quail

Baccharis salicifolia

Seep willow

Perennial Shrub


Perennial; 2000’-5500; occurs along streams and moist washes, and in riparian bottomlands; tall shrub or small tree to 12’ tall

White flowers on ends of branches bloom March-Dec; seeds in summer to fall

Associated with, and contributes to growth of, willows and Fremont cottonwoods

Nectar: eaten by butterflies, wasps and beneficial bees

Barkleyanthus salicifolius (Senecio salignus)

Senecio, willow ragwort

Perennial Shrub


Perennial; 2000-4000’; occurs along moist washes, streams, and disturbed areas; shrub to 3’ tall.

Bright yellow flowers in dense clusters February-April; frost-sensitive.

Occurs in desertscrub and grassland habitats; common associates include cacti and a wide variety of grasses and forbs.

Flowers: provide pollen and nectar for butterflies and other insects;

Foliage: browsed by deer and other mammals.

Calliandra eriophylla

Fairy duster

Perennial Shrub


Perennial; below 5000’; occurs on hillsides, desert flats, washes, and grasslands; shrub to 4’ tall

Semi-deciduous; puffy, pink flower clusters appear any time of year, but mostly October-May

Small to medium sized cold-hardy shrub; associated with bricklebush, Trixis, limberbush, and a wide variety of grasses and forbs

Foliage: browse for mammals; Flowers: provide nectar eaten by butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees; Seeds: eaten by birds and other wildlife; Provides dense cover often lacking in the lower strata

Celtis ehrenbergiana (Celtis pallida)

Desert hackberry, spiny hackberry

Perennial shrub


Long-lived perennial; 1500 – 3500’; occurs in uplands along washes and canyons, and in open desert and riparian bottomlands; shrub 10’-20' tall

Deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub; flowers are small and whitish, appearing in summer; bright orange berries present from June-October; dense and thorny

Large shrub in open desert or midstory in riparian bottomlands; associated with velvet mesquite, graythorn, wolfberry, catclaw acacia, and prickly pear and other cacti.

Berries: valuable forage for a wide variety of wildlife; Foliage: browsed by deer, attracts insects, which are eaten by birds; Provides dense cover and nesting habitat for birds and small mammals

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Buttonbush, Common buttonbush

Perennial shrub


Long-lived perennial, 1,000-5000'; inhabits wet soils adjacent to streams and open waters; shrub or small tree to 10'.

Deciduous shrub with warts on stems; flowers are white balls to 1.5 inches in diameter that appear between June and September; fruit a rough button to 3/4" in diameter;

Mid-story shrub, usually in saturated soils adjacent to streams or other water bodies. Associated with three-leafed sumac and silktassel.

Waterfowl are the principle users of the seeds and the plants are browsed by deer. Insects come to the blooms for nectar.

Condalia warnockii

Warnock condalia,

Warnock's snakeweed




Long-lived perennial, 2500-5000'

occurs in uplands on bajdas and mesas and in canyons to 10' tall

Evergreen, tiny flowers in August

to October, also spring. Fruits are red-blackish and up to 1/4 inch diameter

Associated with mesquite and palo

verde, graythorn and wolfberry

provides excellent cover for nesting birds such

as Pyrrhuloxia

Dodonaea viscosa


Perennial Shrub


Perennial; 2000’- 5000’, found along washes, canyons, rocky slopes; and floodplains; shrub to 12’ tall

Evergreen; small yellowish flowers bloom February-October, followed by winged fruits

Mid- to large-sized deep green shrub scattered in open areas; often associated with ocotillo and jojoba

Seeds: eaten by some birds; Provides dense shelter for wildlife

Encelia farinosa





Perennial; occurs on hillsides, washes, roadsides and other flat areas below 3000'; Shrub to 3' tall

Silvery-gray leaves may drop in

spring droughts; showy yellow flowers November-May in frost free areas.

Sub-shrub with showy, yellow

“daisy-like” flowers; often associated with creosotebush, paloverde, and various cacti and grasses.

Flowers: pollinated by nectar-eating butterflies,

moths, and small bees; Seeds: eaten by birds, rodents, and other wildlife; Leaves and twigs: eaten by bighorn sheep, other mammals.

Ericameria laricifolia (Haplopappus laricifolius)

Turpentine bush

Perennial Shrub


Perennial; 3000’- 6000’, occurs in canyons, and on rocky slopes and desert flats’ to 3’ tall

Small and numerous yellow to golden flowers bloom August-December

Small, deep green shrub found in open areas or understory in oak woodland; strong-smelling flowers

Flowers: provide nectar and pollen for bees and other insects

Eriogonum fasciculatum var. Foliolosum/ polifolium

Flat-top buckwheat, Eastern Mohave buckwheat




Perennial; 1000’-4500’; grows on hillsides and other crub-dominated uplants; to 3’ tall.

Very small white to pink persistent flowers in clusters that dry to an orangish-white color.

Sub-shrub often associated with odora and fairy duster.

Seeds: eaten by birds and other wildlife

Flowers: nectar eaten by butterflies and bees

Foliage: browsed and gleaned by mammals and some birds.

Garrya wrightii

Wright's silktassel

Perennial Shrub


Evergreen perennial, 3000’-8000’, occurs as scattered individuals in many different plant communities; generally to 8’ tall, rarely reaching 15’

Inconspicuous tasseled flower bloom March – August; prefers partial summer shade in Tucson area

Mid-sized to large cold-hardy shrub; generally an understory component of pinyon-juniper woodlands and interior chaparral dominated by evergreen oaks and birchleaf mountain-mahogany

Foliage: browsed by deer, and other mammals; Provides good thermal and visual cover

Gossypium thurberi (Thurberia thespesioides)

Native cotton, Thurber's cotton

Perennial shrub


Perennial; 2500-5000’; occurs in canyons, wash bottoms, and on rocky slopes; shrub to 7’ tall

White to pinkish flowers bloom May-September; seed capsule with fuzzy seeds with short cottony hairs.

Occurs on rocky hillsides or in washes or canyons; frequent associates include desert honeysuckle, catclaw acacia, and burrobrush.

Leaves: host plant and larval food for the splendid royal moth

Hymenoclea monogyra (Ambrosia monogyra)

Burrobrush, single whorl burrobrush

Perennial Shrub


Perennial; 1000’ – 4000’; occurs in valleys, flats, and strands with sandy soil; lanky shrub 306’ tall.

Small inconspicuous flowers appear in fall, followed by winged fruits

Understory to midstory shrub growing in sandy or disturbed soils; often associated with desert broom, seep willow, and other plants that are tolerant of frequent disturbance.

Offers cover and nesting sites for wildlife in otherwise sparsely vegetated landscapes

Hyptis emoryi

Desert lavender

Perennial Shrub


Perennial; below 5000’; occurs within desert washes, on dry rocky slopes, and in canyons; medium shrub to 15’ tall

Violet to blue flowers in clusters that may bloom any time of the year; very drought tolerant

Attractive medium to large shrub; often a component of creosotebush scrub communities

Flowers: important to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds; Seeds: eaten by variety of wildlife

Justicia candicans

Red justicia, Arizona water-willow

Perennial Shrub


Perennial; 1500’- 3000’, occurs within and along washes or slopes; to 3’ tall

Drought deciduous; attractive red, sometimes yellow, flowers bloom spring and fall

Semi-frost hardy small shrub; associated white-thorn acacia and a wide variety of grasses and forbs

Flowers: hummingbirds use nectar Foliage: browsed by javelina

Larrea tridentata var. tridentata

Creosote bush

Perennial Shrub


Long-lived perennial; below 4500'; inhabits dry plains and desert valleys; shrub to 10' tall

Small yellow flowers bloom Mar-April and November–December, followed by small, fuzzy white fruit

Medium to large shrub; associated species include saguaro, night-blooming cereus, paperflower, desert zinnia, and Christmas cholla; sometimes dominates extensive areas on bajadas and valley floors.

Flowers: extremely important for native insects (22 species of native bees feed only on its flowers and it supports 17 species of gall forming insects); Seeds: eaten by a variety of birds and other wildlife; Provides valuable shelter in harsh landscapes.

Lycium andersonii var. andersonii

Anderson Wolfberry, water jacket

Perennial shrub


Perennial; below 5500’; occurs in desert flats and along desert washes; 3 – 6’ tall

Drought deciduous; lavender flowers bloom February-April; fruits present late spring to summer

Alone or as understory in some areas; frequently associated with graythorn, velvet mesquite, catclaw acacia, and desert hackberry.

Fruits: eaten by birds and other wildlife

Lycium fremontii

Fremont Wolfberry, Fremont's desert-thorn

Perennial shrub


Perennial; below 2500', occurs in desert valleys, and within and along washes, slopes, riparian bottomlands; shrub to 9' tall

Drought deciduous; small, lavender flowers blooms year round, but primarily Jan-Mar; can produce fruit year-round

Open areas or understory shrub in mesoriparian to xeroriparian areas; associated with saltbush, velvet mesquite, graythorn, desert hackberry, and canyon ragweed

Flowers: provides nectar and pollen for a wide variety of insects; Fruits: eaten by birds and other wildlife

Mahonia haematocarpa (Berberis haematocarpa)

Red mahonia, red barberry

Perennial shrub


Perennial; 3000’- 5000’, occurs in desert grasslands and oak woodlands; shrub to 6’ tall.

Cold-tolerant evergreen; yellow flowers in loose clusters bloom February-May, followed by red berries.

Medium shrub in full sun or as understory in oak woodlands; associated with oak, Ceanothus, juniper, sugarbush, soap tree.

Flowers: provide nectar and pollen for bees

Berries: eaten by birds and other wildlife

Foliage: browsed by deer, elk, bighorn, rabbits, and ringtail.

Parthenium incanum


Perennial Shrub


Perennial; 3000’- 6000’, occurs on dry slopes in the Sonoran desertscrub-Chihuhuan desertscrub transition zone; to 2’ tall

White flowers with small petals bloom April-October

Small aromatic shrub occurring on well-drained rocky hillsides; often occurring with creosotebush, desert zinnia, snakeweed, brittlebush, and

a variety of cacti; very drought-tolerant.

Provides cover for small mammals and birds

Rhus glabra

Smooth sumac

Perennial shrub


Perennial; 5000’- 7000’, flats and

forests with rich soil; to 20’ tall

Small white flowers in attractive

terminal clusters bloom June-August, followed by clusters of red berries

Large shrub standing alone or in

forest settings; requires good soil

Foliage: browsed by deer

Rhus microphylla

Littleleaf sumac

Perennial subshrub


Perennial; generally 3,000 - 6,500 feet; occurs on dry desert foothills, and in canyons and along washes and valleys; shrub to 15’ tall

Greenish-white flowers occur in dense compound spikes; hairy, red-orange fruit

Small to medium shrub in desert grasslands and scrublands; common associates include velvet mesquite, creosotebush, catclaw acacia, soaptree yucca, sideoats grama, and bush muhly

Fruit: eaten by birds and rodents; Leaves and twigs: browsed by deer and small mammals

Rhus ovata

Sugar bush, sugar sumac

Perennial shrub


Perennial shrub or small tree; 3000-5000’; occurs in desert canyons, mountains, and on slopes with chaparral; to 15’ tall.

Small cream-colored flowers appear February-March, followed by sticky, reddish fruit.

Evergreen, cold-hardy, medium to large shrub; grows alone or among chaparral or scrub oak; associated with Ceanothus, canyon hackberry, catclaw acacia, velvet mesquite, and scrub-oak associations.

Fruit: eaten by a wide variety of birds and other wildlife; evergreen foliage provides year-round shelter.

Rhus trilobata

Three-leafed sumac, skunkbush sumac

Perennial shrub


Perennial; 2500’- 7500’, occurs in canyons and on moutain slopes; to 10’ tall.

Yellow flowers in dense clusters bloom March-June; red fruits mature in summer.

Deciduous, attractive shrub often as understory component of pinyon pine or oak woodlands.

Berries: eaten by small mammals and birds;

Foliage: eaten by small mammals

Bark: eaten by small mammals.

Ribes aureum var. aureum

Wax currant, golden currant

Perennial shrub


Perennial; 2600-8000’; occurs in mid- to high-elevation grasslands and mixed deciduous and coniferous woodlands; to 10’ tall

Deciduous; fragrant yellow flowers in spring and berries in summer; small to medium lanky shrub

Occurs in grasslands, coniferous forests and woodlands, and riparian and mountain shrub communities

Berries: eaten by variety of wildlife; Foliage: browed by large mammals.

Simmondsia chinensis


Perennial shrub


Perennial; 1000’-5000’; occurs on desertscrub habitats and along washes, slopes, and rocky hillsides; shrub to 7' tall

Evergreen; inconspicuous greenish flower, male and female flowers occur on separate plants. Bloom variable from December-July; nuts appear May- July.

Small to medium shrub scattered across upland desert areas; often associated with velvet mequite, paloverde, hopbush, creosotebush, brittlebush and various cacti

Nuts: eaten by birds and a wide variety of mammals including javelina; Foliage: eaten by deer, bighorn sheep and other mammals

Tecoma stans

Yellow bells, yellow trumpet bush

Perennial shrub


Perennial; 3,000-5,500'; occurs on rocky or gravelly slopes along desert washes; shrub with upright form to 12' tall.

Deciduous; elongated, serrated leaves. Bright yellow trumpet-shaped flowers May through October.

Medium shrub of rocky slopes associated with plants of the Sonoran and Chihuahaun deserts. Often occurs with foothill paloverde and saguaro on hillsides.

Browsed by bighorn sheep and probably mule deer. Carpenter bees pirate nectar from blossoms by cutting into the base of the flower.

Trixis californica

Trixis, American


Perrenial shrub


Perennial up to 5000', probably long-lived up to 3' tall

Bright yellow flowers up to 3-4”

in diameter

Rocky slopes in the Arizona Uplands of

the Sonoran Desert

Browsed to some extent by cattle

Vauquelinia californica ssp. Californica/sonorensis

Arizona rosewood

Perennial; 2500’ – 5000’, occurs on mid-elevation canyons and mountains, oak woodlands; shrub or small tree to 25’ tall

Slow-growing evergreen; small white flowers in clusters bloom May – June, followed by woody fruits that persist through winter

Shrub or small tree associated in canyons and on slopes with shrub live oak, (Quercus turbinella ) and as scattered individuals in grama grasslands with scattered velvet mesquite

Dense perennial foliage: provide valuable cover for wildlife
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