Plant: Tree, 2-9 m tall Leaves: leaves mostly alternate, simple, linear to linear lanceolate, arcuate, drooping, (8-)10-18(-25) cm long, 2-8(13) mm wide INFLORESCENCE: terminal racemes or panicles Flowers: with white throat, the outside pink, lavender to magenta; calyx bilabiate, pubescent; corolla tubular-campanulate, glabrous outside, with gland-tipped hairs below stamen insertion, with simple hairs 1-3 mm long in the throat; anthers 2-3 mm long; staminode 4-10 mm long, sometimes with an aborted anther Fruit: capsules, linear, terete, 13-32 cm long; SEEDS winged by free or basally fused hairs Misc: Sandy washes; 400-1900 m (1300-6200 ft.); Mar-Sep References: Mason, Charles T., Jr. 1999. Bignoniaceae. Ariz.-Nev. Acad. Sci. 32(1).
Kearney and Peebles 1970, Allred and Ivey 2012, VPAP (Mason 1999)
Common Name: desert willow Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Tree Wetland Status: FACU General: Small tree or large shrub, reaching 10 m tall at maturity; bark is dark and ridged on older stems. Leaves: Deciduous; whorled, opposite or alternate, sessile or with short petioles; blades linear to linear-lanceolate, less than 1 cm wide and up to 30 cm long, gradually narrowed at both ends, with entire margins, glabrous, often viscid surfaces, and a single distinct vein visible on the leaf underside. Flowers: Showy, 2-lipped, white tinged or streaked with pink or purple, 2-4 cm long and nearly as wide; pendant in terminal racemes or panicles, these up to 30 cm long. Fruits: Capsules long and slender, 10-20 cm long and 6 mm diameter, splitting longitudinally along 2 suture lines and releasing numerous flat seeds with a tuft of hairs on either end; two halves of the capsule persist on the branches through winter. Ecology: Found along dry washes and on the high terraces of river floodplains in the low deserts and foothills, below 5,500 ft (1740 m); flowers April-August. Distribution: s CA, s NV, s UT, AZ, s NM, KS, TX, OK, GA; south to n MEX. Notes: Diagnostic characters of this desert riparian tree are its very long slender leaves; long, slender seed pod which releases seeds that have tufts of hairs on both ends; and the strikingly beautiful bilabiate pink to lavender flowers. Arizona material belongs to var. arcuata, which is characterized by its strongly arcuate (curved into an arch-shape) leaves. New Mexico has ssp. arcuata as well as var. linearis, which has straight or slightly curved leaves. Ethnobotany: Havasupai used in basketry; Hualapai used to make cradleboards; curanderas in Mexico use it to treat coughing, indigestion, and skin and vaginal infections. Etymology: Chilopsis is from the Greek cheilos, a lip, and -opsis, resemblance, referring to the 2-lipped flower; linearis refers to the linear leaves. Synonyms: None Editor: AHazelton 2015, AHazelton 2017