Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rosy Relative

I'll showcase many tough, evergreen plants during the balance of the cool season, since my locale's "xeriscapes" are especially devoid of them. We'll move way beyond the landscape version of the Myth of Santa Fe, as well as it's catalog-inspired version of desert phobia.

From one season of interest into all-year interest.

Chisos Rosewood / Vauquelinia corymbosa var. angustifolia:

Photographed at the UTEP Chihuahuan Desert Gardens in El Paso. This plant is stunning in my region, too.

It has a fine texture, yet it is lush.

But remember, it gets large - over 10 feet tall x 6 feet wide. An upright habit allows it to be maintained as an attractive plant in a narrower space...but it is still large!


No problem - large spaces need large plants. And large plants are great for screening.

Yes, it's in the Rose Family, and it thrived through our coldest and hottest weather. Low to moderate irrigation in the desert.

In the future, I'll make it a point to capture some plants you might be surprised that work in the arid southwest for evergreen lushness. I've often stated, "natives first, then adapteds where natives don't do the task."


  1. This actually looks like it would make a great natural fence between a property. I look forward to the plant features. I'm in chilly Wisconsin right now. I don't know how anything can survivie these cold temps. Moving to the southwest makes you forget...or the skin grows thinner...but it's cold!

  2. Looks like an excellent native substitute for the Photinia. I checked the plant lists of three local native plant nurseries and didn't see it listed.

  3. I leave often with the same impression...the power of imagination in terms of aesthetics and context means nothing unless one knows the vegetation and their requirements to strive. Congratulations.......

  4. Some Abq area nurseries have the Arizona Rosewood (Vauquelinia californica) which appears to be similar. I found mine at Plants of the Southwest in Los Ranchos. I've had one for several years and it's done so well that I planted another. I live in NW Albuquerque.

  5. R - yes, I got thin blood in San Diego out of college, and it is tough seeing even Abq in recent years. You might like the rosewoods, as with the upright habit, it can be maintained into a 6' wide space or as a small patio tree to 15-20' tall. A few that size in Abq and Las Vegas NV that I've seen.

    SF - exactly, and no chlorosis for us with alkaline soil! I think it is more like Photinia than it is Oleander, esp the Arizona one with wider leaves.

    AC - thanks, I am always glad to point out some details, though I could go on with this plant!

    A - I posted on AZ Rosewood at

    The AZ Rosewood just has a wider leaf and seems to get a little larger than Chisos. Both are in the Rose family, like Mountain Mahogany and Cotoneaster.

  6. Mine is about 5 foot now. gets really hot sun is planted near a pomegranate. It's a plant that should be used more in xeric settings. There was a nice one planted at the TX A&m in Dallas by the late Benny Simpson. Unfortunately they took out some of his plantings and put them in a chipper.

  7. A - hopefully my S/C TX compadres will also give this plant a whirl. Reminds me of some diff. plants I remember from Denver and from San Diego, but evergreen and for the SW.

  8. This is an awesome plant that I can't say I was aware of. I've always found it difficult to find a good screening xeriscape plants. I also need to check out the UTEP gardens! I've been in El Paso many times and know the garden curator there very well, but still haven't been.

    1. I recall seeing the regular Arizona Rosewood at the new Plains Medical Center (?) landscape in Clovis, as well as damianita and a few other plants you see more in Abq and esp Las Cruces. John White at UTEP great...nice plants at their garden.


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