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Glendale Public Library
Xeriscape Demonstration Garden Information Sheet

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Acacia willardiana-Palo Blanco

A small, open, very graceful tree. Airy and delicate, this small tree is perfect for tucking into planters and courtyards.  The common name translates into "White Stick", describing its unique peeling white bark. It can grow to 20 feet tall and spread to 15 feet across. The canopy is open and provides very light shade. Palo Blanco has one or more trunks that grow upright, while its smaller branches grow out and droop down, giving the tree a weeping appearance. The leaves are reduced down to the elongated petioles with small leaflets at the tips.

The bark of larger branches and the main trunk peels away to reveal white inner bark. Spikes of fuzzy creamy white-yellow flowers resembling fuzzy cream-colored caterpillars appear in late spring.  Plant Palo Blanco in full sun, in an area where it can grow comfortably to 18-20 feet tall by 10 feet wide. It should require little, if any, pruning or maintenance. Try silhouetting it against a colored wall to show off the interesting bark and wispy foliage. 

Multiples can present better display. Native to Sonoran desert of Mexico in warm areas on hillsides. Can frost damage in cold winters. Very heat & sun tolerant.

Webmaster & Author George Hull Last Updated August 10, 2003