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You are here >1Up Info > Wildlife, Animals, and Plants > Plant Species > Shrub > Species: Cercidium microphyllum | Yellow Paloverde

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SPECIES: Cercidium microphyllum | Yellow Paloverde
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Yellow paloverde is a native, monoecious, spiny shrub or small tree that may grow to 26 feet (8 m) tall [3,37,52,88]. The trunk may be 1 foot (0.3 m) in diameter; it branches about 8 inches (20 cm) from the ground into four to six major stems [57]. The crown spreads 12 to 18 feet (3.7-5.5 m) [32]. The bark is thin and photosynthetic [91]. Yellow paloverde has numerous flowers in 1 inch (2.5 cm) long clusters [16,37]. It has pinnately compound leaves about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long with minute leaflets and is drought-deciduous [37,100]. Fruits are 2 to 3 inches (4-8 cm) long and have one to five seeds with constrictions between the seeds [16,37,80]. Yellow paloverde lives longer than 72 years [22]. Yellow paloverde is susceptible to freezing [90]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Yellow paloverde reproduces sexually and asexually. Yellow paloverde has fair to poor ability to produce sprouts after top removal [11]. Photoperiod initiates fruit and flower production of yellow paloverde. Subsequent local weather conditions determine whether flowering or seed set occurs [91]. A seed crop is produced when the spring is wet or very cool [105]. Yellow paloverde is insect pollinated [44,82]. McAuliffe [47] stated that yellow paloverde pods rapidly abscise as a mechanism to avoid seed predation by bruchid beetles. The constricted fruits of yellow paloverde do not open before dispersing [37]. Seeds germinate during a rainy season after 1 year in the soil. Seedlings are very susceptible to drought during the first 2 to 3 months following germination. During a 9-year study in Arizona, 1.6 percent of all seedlings that germinated survived [105]. Recruitment of yellow paloverde is very slow. Additions as low as two individuals over 30 years or longer have been recorded [22,79]. Herbivory limits yellow paloverde distribution [45]. Bruchid beetles are seed predators of yellow paloverde [47]. Heteromyid rodents rapidly cache yellow paloverde seeds. The cached seeds occasionally germinate [47,95]. Initial distributions of yellow paloverde seedlings are random. However, after 1 year, a greater proportion of seedlings in open spaces were consumed by rabbits and hares than seedlings beneath triangle bursage. Recruitment patterns of yellow paloverde show significantly (P<0.001) positive associations with mature triangle bursage and white bursage (Ambrosia dumosa) [45,46]. Because yellow paloverde outlives triangle bursage, large mature yellow paloverde have no association with triangle bursage [46]. Unpredictable water availability causes low, erratic seedling establishment [12]. Mature yellow paloverde maintain deep root contact with wet soil [73,105]. Yellow paloverde self prunes; large branches die during drought [3,105]. Young plants usually survive drought once they drop branches which occurs at variable ages [77,105]. Death of mature yellow paloverde due to drought and subsequent desiccation is uncommon [45,77,92]. Based on water requirement trials, the water-use efficiency of yellow paloverde approaches that of perennial grasses [48]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Yellow paloverde occurs in arid to semiarid climates with mild winters and hot summers; precipitation is bimodal, occuring in summer and fall [15,54]. Yellow paloverde is found on lower mountain slopes and alluvial outwash plains [54,97]. In the most arid parts of its range, yellow paloverde occasionally occurs in small washes or arroyos [24,59,64,91,97]. Yellow paloverde occurs from 1,000 to 4,000 feet (305-1,219 m) in elevation throughout its range [19,23,54,97,99]. It grows on very gradual to steep slopes that may face south or north, but it has been reported on all aspects [19,24,28,36,60,101]. The sites on which yellow paloverde occurs are well-drained [28]. Surface soils may be 1.6 to 2.8 inches (4-7 cm) thick and subsoils may be 20 inches (50 cm) thick over caliche [91,101]. The soil temperature regime is thermic (that is, average soil temperatures are between 59 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit [15-22 deg C]) [51]. Soil textures range from sand to sandy loam to loam [24]. They may be underlain by clay loam and clays [23,89]. Parent materials may be basaltic, rhyolitic, granitic, mixed alluvium, and metamorphic [22,49,59,60,91]. The distribution of yellow paloverde is influenced by the continuum of soil textures that occurs from upper to lower bajada [5]. It is found primarily on the upper bajadas [6,7,93,97]. Coarse soil of the upper bajada has one-half the wilting coefficient (which is an estimate of plant stress) of the finer soil of the lower bajada [102]. Yellow paloverde grows infrequently on the middle and lower bajada [97]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Yellow paloverde is a climax species in the Sonoran Desert flora [51,54,61]. Successional sequences have not been completely identified for the desert scrub communities in which yellow paloverde occurs. Dominants such as yellow paloverde are the first to reappear and replace themselves following disturbance [69]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Yellow paloverde may not flower every year, depending on adequate moisture availability. It develops flowers from March to May [24,31,80,91,100]. Leaf production is erratic [24]. Yellow paloverde grows drought-deciduous leaves two or more times during the year following summer and winter rains [77,91].

Related categories for Species: Cercidium microphyllum | Yellow Paloverde

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