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Common Name:

Desert Willow

Scientific Name:

Chilopsis linearis

Family Name:



Desert Willow is a delicate small deciduous tree native to West Texas. Desert Willow derives its name from the resemblence of the foliage to that of willows (Salix spp.). In addition to its ability to withstand arid conditions, it offers recurring flushes of white to lavender maroon Catalpa-like flowers in small panicles. Growth is irregular and requires attention to trunk development during early growth.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, large shrub, tree, small tree



Flower Color:

White to lavender-maroon, bicolors

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer, fall

Fruit Characteristics:

Small greenbean-shaped two-valved pod containing small flattened winged seeds


15 ft to 20 ft (30 ft)


15 ft to 20 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

7, 8, 9, 10

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Actually quite well adapted throughout Texas except for colder portions of the Panhandle; good xeriscape plant; persistent seed pods can be messy; the related X Chitalpa tashkentensis is a hybrid between Chilopsis linearis and Catalpa bignonioides with white to pale pink Catalpa-like flowers in recurring flushes, but is susceptible to Alterneria leaf spot.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.