Eysenhardtia orthocarpa


J. Charboneau

Eysenhardtia orthocarpa inflorescence


J. Charboneau

Eysenhardtia orthocarpa infructescence

Botanical Name

Eysenhardtia orthocarpa (A. Gray) S. Watson

Common Name(s)

  • kidneywood
  • palo dulce (Spanish)

Legume Clades

Native Geographic Range

  • Southwestern North America

IUCN Status

Growth Form

small tree

Cultivation Status in AZ



Drought- and cold-deciduous shrubs or trees to 20 ft (6 m) high. The bark is gray and becomes fissured and shredding with age. Leaves are once-pinnate with 13--47 leaflets. Spike-like inflorescences are produced at the ends of the stems. The tiny white flowers are pleasantly fragrant. Flowering is from last spring into autumn.


Native to southeastern Arizona and adjacent New Mexico, and in northwestern Mexico as far south as Jalisco. Growing on slopes, canyons, valleys, and along arroyos in semi-desert grassland, oak woodland, thornscrub, tropical dry forest, and margins of deserts.


The foliage is browsed by livestock and wildlife, and the flowers are considered desirable for honey production. The wood has been used for a variety of purposes. The crushed foliage is aromatic.


Kidneywood is occasionally grown as a landscape plant. It may be pruned into a small tree and is suitable for patios and other areas with limited space. The flowers are produced in abundance, have a pleasantly sweet fragrance, and attract butterflies and bees. Growth is moderate to fast with irrigation. This species is hardy to 16° F (-9° C). Litter is minimal.