The Plant List


Lysiloma thornberi
(Lysiloma microphyllum var. thornberi)

Common: Desert fern, Feather bush, Fern-of-the-desert
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Sunset Zone: 10, 12-24
Origin: Native to foothills of Arizona's Rincon Mountains
Light: Part, full or reflected sun
Soil: Tolerant. Needs good drainage.
Water: Prefers deep spaced irrigation.

Good informal background shrub, patio tree. Used in transitional garden-desert planting.

Planting with evergreens will mask its winter dormancy. Deciduous shrub or tree with feathery foliage.

Grows at moderate to fast rate, 15-20 feet high, canopy of ferny leaves as wide as high. Finely cut, bright green leaves somewhat like acacia. Feathery, ferny. Numerous creamy white flowers like clusters of puffballs appear in spring, followed by flat brown pods, 4-8 inches in length.

Prune selectively; only shape or remove dead branches. If frozen, cut plant to the ground. Sometimes killed back by heavy frosts, but usually recovers.

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