Parkinsonia (syn. Cercidium) is a genus of about 12 species of in the family Fabaceae, native to semi-desert regions of Africa and the Americas.

They are large shrubs or small trees growing to 5-12 m tall, dry season deciduous, with sparse, open, thorny crowns and green bark. The leaves are pinnate, sometimes bipinnate, with numerous small leaflets; they are only borne for a relatively short time after rains, with much of the photosynthesis carried out by the green twigs and branches. The flowers are symmetrical or nearly so, with five yellow or white petals. The fruit is a pod containing several seeds.

Several of the American species have the common name "Palo Verde", which is Spanish for "green stick", in reference to the green photosynthetic bark.

Selected species


Most American species are known by the common name of palo verde or paloverde, from the Spanish for "green pole" or "green stick". This name is derived from its characteristic green trunk.


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