- baby bonnets
- samo prieto (Spanish)
Native Geographic Range
- Southwestern North America
Cultivation Status in AZ
Tardily cold- and drought-deciduous shrubs to 10 ft (3 m) high with several to numerous stems, or rarely small trees. The bark is smooth and gray. Leaves are once-pinnate with to 6 in (15 cm) long with 8--22 leaflets. Small, pea-like flowers are produced in inflorescences along the stems. The flowers are whitish, sometimes with yellow near the center, and appear in the spring.
Native to parts of southern Arizona, southward through much of western Mexico where is is found in the Sonoran Desert and in thornscrub and tropical deciduous forest habitats.
The relatively straight and flexible stems of this species have been used by indigenous peoples to make a variety of articles. A gum-like exudate produced by insects and found on the stems has been used to mend broken pottery.
Baby bonnets is occasionally grown as a landscape plant. It can be planted to make an informal screen. Established plants are heat and drought-tolerant but require regular irrigation in hot weather for best appearance. Growth rate is fast with sufficient moisture. Stems are damaged at 23° F (-5° C). Frozen stems should be removed and recovery is rapid the following season. This species produces minimal litter.