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Glendale Public Library
Xeriscape Demonstration Garden Information Sheet

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Caesalpinia cacalaco-Cascalote  

In Arizona, where winter visitors often garden in small spaces and want seasonal color, this patio tree has become a fast favorite. Caesalpinia cacalaco can either be left unpruned to grow as a large shrub, or trained into a small tree to 15-18 feet tall and wide.  Flowering can start Thanksgiving and proceed for many weeks producing large spikes of clear yellow flowers at the branch tips, followed by attractive copper-colored seedpods.  Seed pods have been used as a dye.

Cascalote is native to tropical areas of Sinaloa, Oaxaca and Vera Cruz in Mexico, and suffers frost damage when temperatures drop below 20 F. In warm climates this plant is evergreen with glossy green compound leaves. Younger branches are reddish-brown, and are usually adorned with rose-like thorns. The thorns are not as prominent on older trunks and branches. Cascalote grows best in full sun and well-drained soil, and is easily propagated from seed. It is fairly slow but speeds up with moisture.  USDA Zone 9.


Webmaster & Author George Hull Last Updated August 10, 2003