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Trees For
Southern Arizona

The following trees are those that are appropriate to our region and native to the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. Some of these species may be difficult to come by (we have a thing for diversity and we are always working to make them available). Please note that not all these trees may be appropriate for your particular part of our region. This list includes trees appropriate for low desert, middle grassland zones, and higher montane elevations—these are denoted as low, middle, and high zones in the descriptions.

We are working to profile all these trees in detail, but have included the important details here useful for selection. As mentioned, we do not carry all these species all of the time. But you can check our current plant list to see what we have. You may also check out other local plant nurseries.

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Abies bifolia

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Abies concolor

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abies lasiocarpa

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Acer glabrum

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Acer grandidentatum

Big Tooth Maple
Acer grandidentatum
high zone
Small, Deciduous, Tree 10-20’h&w
part sun to shade, regular water, -30°F
Best for higher zones, spectacular fall color, “helicopter” pods

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acer negundo

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arbutus arizonica

Arizona madrone
arbutus arizonica
high zone
Small, evergreen, Tree to 45’h (usually much smaller)
part sun to shade, regular water, -4°F
Best for higher zones, gorgeous color in the trunk and stems, fruit attracts birds

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alnus oblongifolia

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Atamisquea emarginata

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bauhinia lunarioides

Anacacho orchid tree 
Bauhinia lunarioides
low to middle zones
Small, Semi-Deciduous, Flowering Tree, 12’h, 10’w
Full to part sun, moderate water, 10°F
Beautiful white flowers, attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

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Brahea armata

Mexican Blue Palm
Brahea armata
low zones
Palm Tree, 20-25’h, 10-15’w
Full to Part Sun, Mod to Low Water, 18°F
Great habitat plant for birds, bats, and insects.

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Caesalpinia cacalaco

Cascalote
Caesalpinia cacalaco
low zones
Small, Evergreen, flowering tree, 15-20’h&w
Full to Part sun, low to moderate water, 20°F
Flowers attract butterflies

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Canotia holacantha

crucifixion thorn
canotia holacantha
low to middle zones
Small, almost leafless tree, 10-15’h
Full to Part sun, low to moderate water, 10°F
bumblebee polinated

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castela emoryi

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celtis ehrenbergiana

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Celtis reticulata

 canyon hackberry
Celtis reticulata
low to high zones
medium large, deciduous tree, to 30’h&w
Full to Part sun, low to moderate water, -20°F
Host plant for american snout, empress leila and several other species of butterflies.
Excellent bird plant for nesting and food (fruits),
edible fruits for humans. A keystone species in our region.

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Cercis canadensis
var. mexicana

Mexican redbud
cercis canadensis var. mexicana
low to high zones
Small, deciduous tree, 15-25’h, 15’w
Full to Part sun, moderate water, 0°F
bumblebee polinated,
larval host for Henry’s Elfin butterfly
Birds enjoy the seeds

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Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Texas redbud
cercis canadensis var. texana
low to high zones
Small, deciduous tree, 15-25’h, 15’w
Full to Part sun, moderate water, 0°F
bumblebee polinated,
larval host for Henry’s Elfin butterfly 
Birds enjoy the seeds

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Cercis occidentalis

western redbud
cercis occidentalis
low to high zones
Small, deciduous tree, 15-25’h, 15’w
Full to Part sun, moderate water, -20°F
bumblebee polinated,
wonderful pollinator plant for nectar insects
Great for birds (eat seeds) 

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Cercocarpus montanus

Mountain mahogany
cercocarpus montanus and C. breviflorus
low to high zones
large evergreen shrub to small tree 10-15’h, 8’w
Part sun - shade, regular to moderate water, -30°F
larval foods for Western sheepmoth and Mountain Mahogany Hairstreak
In nature mostly found as shrub because of deer browsing

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Chilopsis linearis

desert willow
chilopsis linearis
Low to middle zones
deciduous, large shrub to small tree 20-25’h&w
full sun, low to moderate water, -10°F
loved by native bees, hummingbirds for nectar-rich flowers
feeds granivourous (seed eating) birds
provides important nesting material for many species of bees
larval host for several sphinx and geometrid moths
severl named cultivars mostly for flower color

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Chitalpa X

Chitalpa
chilopsis linearis x Catalpa speciosa
Low to middle zones
moderate deciduous tree 20-30’h&w
full sun, regular water, 0°F
loved by native bees, hummingbirds for nectar-rich flowers
An intergeneric hybrid, several named cultivars

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Cordia boisseri

Anacahuita
cordia boisseri
low zone
moderate evergreen tree 20-35’h&w
full to part sun, moderate water, 20°F
loved by native bees, hummingbirds for nectar-rich flowers
mammals and birds use fruits

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Cupressus Arizonica

arizona cypress
cupressus arizonica
low to high zones
moderate size, evergreen conifer tree 30-40’h, 20’w
full to part sun, moderate water, -10°F
safe nesting spot for many birds

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Dermatophyllum secundiflorum

Texas Mountain Laurel
dermatophyllum secundiflorum
low zone
small evergreen tree, 15’h&w
full to part sun, moderate water, 10°F
Nectar rich flowers for bees and butterflies
larval host for the genista broom moth

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Diospyros texana

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana
low zone
small semi-evergreen to deciduous tree
15’h&w, can get taller
full to part sun, moderate water, 15°F
Nectar rich flowers for bees and butterflies
larval host for the gray hairstreak
Fruit edible for humans, birds and mammals
plants are dioecious (male and female)

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Ebenopsis ebano

Texas ebony
ebanopsis ebano
low zone
small evergreen tree, 15-40’h,15-30’w
full to part sun, moderate water, 10°F
Nectar rich flowers for bees and butterflies
larval host for the Coyote Cloudywing butterfly
and the saturnid moth Sphingicampa blanchardi
good nesting plant for birds (thorny and densly foliated)

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Ehretia anacua

sandpaper tree
ehretia anacua
low zone
small evergreen tree, 25-40’h,15-30’w
The tree sometimes suckers or makes multiple trunks
full to part sun, moderate water, 10°F
Nectar rich flowers for bees and butterflies
larval host for the Anacua Tortoise Beetle
Fruit edible to people, birds, and mammals

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Eysenhardtia orthocarpa

kidneywood
eysenhardtia orthocarpa
low zone
small semi-evergreen to deciduous tree, 10-20’h,6-15’w
full to part sun, moderate water, 15°F
Nectar rich flowers for bees and butterflies
larval host for the ceraunus blue, marine blue,
gray hairstreak & arizona hairstreak butterflies
Seeds used by birds

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Forestiera neomexicana

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forestiera shrevei

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Fraxinus anomala

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fraxinus cuspidata

fragrant ash
fraxinus cuspidata
middle to high zones
small deciduous shrub or tree, 10-20’h&w
part sun, moderate water, 5°F
Nectar rich, wonderfully fragrant flowers for bees and butterflies
larval host for swallowtails
Seeds used by birds & good nesting tree

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Fraxinus greggii

little leaf ash
fraxinus greggii
low zone
small almost evergreen shrub or tree, 20’h,15’w
full to part sun, moderate water, 10°F
Nectar rich inconspicuous flowers for bees and butterflies
larval host for Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 
Seeds used by birds & good nesting tree

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Fraxinus gooddingii

Goodding ash
fraxinus Gooddingii
low zone
small almost evergreen shrub or tree, 20’h,15’w
full to part sun, moderate water, 10°F
Nectar rich inconspicuous flowers for bees and butterflies
larval host for incense cedar sphinx
Seeds used by birds & good nesting tree
rare in the US

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Fraxinus velutina

Velvet ash
fraxinus velutina
low to high zones
medium deciduous tree, 25-40’h&w
full to part sun, moderate water, -10°F
Nectar rich inconspicuous flowers for bees and butterflies
larval host for two tailed swallowtail
Beautiful yellow fall color

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Haematoxylum brasiletto

brazilwood
haematoxylum brasiletto
low zone
medium semi-evergreen tree, 10-20’h&w
full to part sun, moderate water, 25°F
Nectar rich yellow legume flowers for bees and butterflies
Unusual fluted trunk, rare in Tucson landscapes
Native in the sierra madre in Sonora

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Harvardia mexicana

Mexican ebony
havardia mexicana
low zone
medium deciduous tree, 30’h, 20’w
full to part sun, low to moderate water, 15°F
Nectar rich fuzzy flowers for bees and butterflies
Probably a larval food plant for blues like H. pallens
good nest tree

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Havardia pallens

Tenaza
havardia pallens
low zone
medium deciduous tree, 30’h, 20’w
full to part sun, low to moderate water, 15°F
Nectar rich fuzzy flowers for bees and butterflies
larval food for Marine blue, Ceraunus blue butterflies
good nest tree

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Juglans major

arizona walnut
juglans major
low to high zones
medium deciduous tree, 30’h, 20’w
full to part sun, moderate water, -10°F
attracts birds and mammals
good nesting tree
edible nuts

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Juniperus deppeana

aligator juniper
juniperus deppeana
low to middle zones
evergreen, large shrub or small tree, 30-45’h&w
full to part sun, moderate water, 0°F
attracts birds and mammals
good nesting plant

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Juniperus monosperma

one seed juniper
jumiperus monosperma
middle to high zones
evergreen, large shrub or small tree, 10-20’h&w
full to part sun, moderate water, -30°F
attracts birds and mammals
good nesting plant
Larval food plant for the juniper hairstreak

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Juniperus osteosperma

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Juniperus scopulorum

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Koeberlinia spinosa

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Leucaena retusa

Goldenball Leadtree
Leucaena retusa
low to middle zones
small deciduous tree, 20’h, 15’w
full to part sun, moderate water, 0°F
attracts butterflies and bees

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Lysiloma watsonii

feather tree
Lysiloma watsonii
low zone
small semi-evergreen tree, 15-20’h&w
full to part sun, moderate water, 25°F
flowers attracts butterflies and bees
larval food plant for the large orange sulfur
great nesting plant (wide canopy)

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Mariosousa willardiana

palo blanco
Mariosousa willardiana
low zone
small semi-evergreen tree, 20’h, 15’w
full to part sun, moderate water, 25°F
flowers attracts butterflies and bees
great accent tree with shiny white trunk

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Morus microphylla

littleleaf mulberry
morus microphylla
low to middle zones
deciduous, large shrub or small tree 15-20’h&w
full to part sun, regular water, -15°F
flowers attracts butterflies and bees
fruits edible to humans, mammals, and birds
smaller than the non-native from china

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Olneya tesota

ironwood
olneya tesota
low zone
mostly evergreen tree, 30’h&w
full sun, low water, 20°F
flowers provide nectar for butterflies and bees
important nesting plant
keystone species in the Sonoran desert

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Parkinsonia florida

blue palo verde
parkinsonia florida
low zone
medium sized tree, 30’h&w
drought or cold deciduous leave
green trunk keeps photosynthesizing
full sun, low water, 10°F
flowers provide nectar for butterflies and bees
important nesting plant, seeds for granivorous birds
Several moth and beetle larvae depend on this species
The mistletoe of the palo verde important food for Phainopepla 
and larval food for great purple hairstreak
keystone species in the Sonoran desert

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Parkinsonia microphylla

foothill palo verde
parkinsonia microphylla
low zone
small tree, 10-20’h&w
drought and cold deciduous, phtosynthesizing trunk
full sun, low water, 15°F
flowers provide nectar for butterflies and bees
important nesting plant
larval food plant for many beetles, the hubbard’s silk moth,
and oblique Looper moth
host to the mistletoe that feeds phainopepla & Great purple hairstreak
trunk stays green with age
keystone species in the Sonoran desert

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Parkinsonia praecox

palo brea
parkinsonia praecox
low zone
medium tree, 25’h&w
drought or cold deciduous, photosynthesizing trunk
full sun, low water, 20°F
flowers provide nectar for butterflies and bees
important nesting plant
attractive form, trunk stays green with age

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Parkinsonia x ‘desert museum’

desert museum palo verde
parkinsonia x ‘desert museum’
low zone
medium tree, 30’h&w
drought and cold deciduous, photosynthesizing trunk
full sun, low water, 15°F
flowers provide nectar for butterflies and bees
a complicated three way hybrid between Parkinsonia microphylla,
Parkinsonia florida, and Parkinsonia aculeata

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picea engelmannii

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Pinus arizonica

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Pinus discolor

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Pinus edulis

piñon pine
pinus edulus
middle to high zones
evergreen, conifer tree, 10-30’h&w
full sun, low to moderate water, -20°F
seeds edible to humans and important to many species of birds
important nesting tree for birds

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pinus engelmannii

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Pinus leiophylla var. chihuahuana

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Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum

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Platanus mexicana

mexican sycamore
platanus mexicana
low to middle zones
large deciduous tree, 60’h, 40’w
full to part sun, regular water, 0°F
seeds edible to birds
good nesting tree for birds
if weather cooperates, fall color is orange or yellow
magnificent mottled trunks

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Platanus wrightii

arizona sycamore
platanus wrightii
low to middle zones
large deciduous tree, 60’h&w
full to part sun, regular water, -10°F
seeds edible to birds
good nesting tree for birds
magnificent mottled trunks

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Populus angustifolia

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Populus fremontii

cottonwood
populus fremontii
low to high zones
large deciduous tree, 40-60’h, 50’w
full to part sun, regular water, -30°F
host to many larvae of beetles and moths
including the Western Poplar Sphinx 
good nesting tree for birds
yellow fall color
beautiful sound made from wind blowing through canopy

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Populus tremuloides

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prosopis glandulosa

honey mesquite
prosopis glandulosa
low to middle zones
large deciduous tree, 25-30’h&w
full sun, low to moderate water, 0°F
larval host to Reickers blue butterfly, Long-tailed skipper
great nectar plant for bees, butterflies 
pods, seeds edible to humans, mammals, birds
good nesting tree

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Prosopis pubescens

honey mesquite
prosopis glandulosa
low to middle zones
large deciduous tree, 25-30’h&w
full sun, low to moderate water, 0°F
larval host to Marine Blue, Palmer’s Metalmark and Reakirt’s Blue
great nectar plant for bees, butterflies 
pods, seeds edible to humans, mammals, birds
good nesting tree

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Prosopis velutina

velvet mesquite
prosopis velutina
low to middle zone
large deciduous tree, 25-50’h&w
full sun, low to moderate water, 10°F
larval host to Marine blue, Reakirt’s blue, Ceraunus blue,
Palmer’s metalmark, Leda ministreak
Important nectar plant for bees, butterflies, beetles
leaves edible to many insects and larvae which feed many birds including
lucy’s warbler, verdin, and bell’s vireo
host to mistletoe which is food for phainopepla and great blue hairstreak
pods, seeds edible to humans, mammals, birds
important nesting tree
a keystone species to our region

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prunus serotina

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Pseudotsuga menziesii
var. glauca

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Psorothamnus spinosus

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Robinia neomexicana

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quercus arizonica

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quercus chrysolepis

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Quercus emoryi

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Quercus gambelii

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quercus grisea

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quercus hypoleucoides

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Quercus mcvaughii

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Quercus muehlenbergii

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Quercus oblongifolia

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quercus palmeri

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quercus pungens

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quercus rugosa

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quercus toumeyi

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quercus turbinella

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Salix gooddingii

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Salix laevigata

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Salix scouleriana

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Sambucus spp.

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Sapindus saponaria

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Senegalia berlandieri

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Senegalia greggii

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Sideroxylon lanuginosum

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Tabebuia chrysantha

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Tabebuia impetiginosa

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Ugnadia speciosa

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Vachellia farnesiana

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Vachellia rigidula

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Vachellia schaffneri

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Vachellia constricta

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Washingtonia filifera

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ziziphus obtusifolia