Parkinsonia aculeata

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Parkinsonia aculeata
ParkinsoniaAculeata.jpg
Flowers, leaves and pods
Scientific classification
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P. aculeata
Binomial name
Parkinsonia aculeata
L76 Map 107 Parkinsonia aculeata.png
Northern range of Parkinsonia aculeata
Synonyms
  • Inga pyriformis Jungh.
  • Mimosa pedunculata Hunter
  • Parkia harbesonii Elmer
  • Parkia macropoda Miq

Parkinsonia aculeata is a species of perennial flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. Common names include palo verde, Mexican palo verde, Parkinsonia, Jerusalem thorn, jelly bean tree, and palo de rayo. [2]

Flowering plant clade of flowering plants (in APG I-III)

The flowering plants, also known as angiosperms, Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants, with 64 orders, 416 families, approximately 13,164 known genera and c. 369,000 known species. Like gymnosperms, angiosperms are seed-producing plants. However, they are distinguished from gymnosperms by characteristics including flowers, endosperm within the seeds, and the production of fruits that contain the seeds. Etymologically, angiosperm means a plant that produces seeds within an enclosure; in other words, a fruiting plant. The term comes from the Greek words angeion and sperma ("seed").

Tree Perennial woody plant with elongated trunk

In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only woody plants with secondary growth, plants that are usable as lumber or plants above a specified height. Trees are not a taxonomic group but include a variety of plant species that have independently evolved a woody trunk and branches as a way to tower above other plants to compete for sunlight. Trees tend to be long-lived, some reaching several thousand years old. In wider definitions, the taller palms, tree ferns, bananas, and bamboos are also trees. Trees have been in existence for 370 million years. It is estimated that there are just over 3 trillion mature trees in the world.

Pea species of plant

The pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas, which can be green or yellow. Pea pods are botanically fruit, since they contain seeds and develop from the ovary of a (pea) flower. The name is also used to describe other edible seeds from the Fabaceae such as the pigeon pea, the cowpea, and the seeds from several species of Lathyrus.

Contents

Etymology

The genus name Parkinsonia honors the English botanist John Parkinson (1567–1650), while the species Latin name aculeata refers to the thorny stem of this plant.

John Parkinson (botanist) English herbalist and botanist

John Parkinson was the last of the great English herbalists and one of the first of the great English botanists. He was apothecary to James I and a founding member of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries in December 1617, and was later Royal Botanist to Charles I. He is known for two monumental works, Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris, which generally describes the proper cultivation of plants; and Theatrum Botanicum, the most complete and beautifully presented English treatise on plants of its time. One of the most eminent gardeners of his day, he kept a botanical garden at Long Acre in Covent Garden, today close to Trafalgar Square, and maintained close relations with other important English and Continental botanists, herbalists and plantsmen.

Description

Close-up on flowers of Parkinsonia aculeata Parkinsonia aculeata 4.jpg
Close-up on flowers of Parkinsonia aculeata

Parkinsonia aculeata may be a spiny shrub or a small tree. It grows 2 to 8 m (6.6 to 26.2 ft) high, with a maximum height of 10 metres (33 ft). Palo verde may have single or multiple stems and many branches with pendulous leaves. The leaves and stems are hairless. The leaves are alternate and pennate (15 to 20 cm long). The flattened petiole is edged by two rows of 25–30 tiny oval leaflets; the leaflets are soon deciduous in dry weather (and during the winter in some areas) leaving the green petioles and branches to photosynthesize.

Leaf organ of a vascular plant, composing its foliage

A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant and is the principal lateral appendage of the stem. The leaves and stem together form the shoot. Leaves are collectively referred to as foliage, as in "autumn foliage".

Trichome

Trichomes, from the Greek τρίχωμα (trichōma) meaning "hair", are fine outgrowths or appendages on plants, algae, lichens, and certain protists. They are of diverse structure and function. Examples are hairs, glandular hairs, scales, and papillae. A covering of any kind of hair on a plant is an indumentum, and the surface bearing them is said to be pubescent.

Petiole (botany)

In botany, the petiole is the stalk that attaches the leaf blade to the stem. Outgrowths appearing on each side of the petiole in some species are called stipules. Leaves lacking a petiole are called sessile or epetiolate.

The branches grow double or triple sharp spines 7–12 mm (0.28–0.47 in) long at the axils of the leaves. The flowers are yellow- orange and fragrant, 20 mm (0.79 in) in diameter, growing from a long slender stalk in groups of eight to ten. They have five sepals and five petals, four of them clearer and rhomboid ovate, the fifth elongated, with a warmer yellow and purple spots at the base. The flowering period is in the middle months of spring (March-April or September-October). The flowers are pollinated by bees. The fruit is a seedpod, leathery in appearance, light brown when mature.

In plant morphology, thorns, spines, and prickles, and in general spinose structures, are hard, rigid extensions or modifications of leaves, roots, stems or buds with sharp, stiff ends, and generally serve the same function: physically deterring animals from eating the plant material.

Fruit part of a flowering plant

In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants formed from the ovary after flowering.

Legume Plant in the family Fabaceae

A legume is a plant in the family Fabaceae, or the fruit or seed of such a plant. Legumes are grown agriculturally, primarily for human consumption, for livestock forage and silage, and as soil-enhancing green manure. Well-known legumes include alfalfa, clover, peas, chickpeas, lentils, lupin bean, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts and tamarind. Legumes produce a botanically unique type of fruit – a simple dry fruit that develops from a simple carpel and usually dehisces on two sides. A common name for this type of fruit is a pod, although the term "pod" is also applied to a number of other fruit types, such as that of vanilla and of the radish.

Invasive problems

P. aculeata is a major invasive species in Australia, as it is listed as a Weed of National Significance and is ranked as Australia's worst weed. It is also a major problem in parts of tropical Africa, Hawaii, and other Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Invasive species Organism occurring in a new habitat

An invasive species is a species that is not native to a specific location, and that has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Weeds of National Significance

Weeds of National Significance (WoNS) is a list of the most problematic plant species in Australia as determined by the federal government. Initially a list of 20 taxa were listed and given a rank based on invasiveness, impacts, potential for spread, and socioeconomic and environmental values. An expanded list of 32 taxa was released in April 2012.

It was introduced to Australia as an ornamental tree and for shade around 1900. It is now a serious weed widespread through Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, covering about 8,000 km2 (3,100 sq mi) of land, and has the potential to spread through most of the semi-arid to subhumid tropical area in Australia.

Invasive species in Australia

Invasive species are a serious threat to the native biodiversity of Australia and are an ongoing cost to Australian agriculture. Numerous species arrived with European colonisation of Australia and steadily since then.

Western Australia State in Australia

Western Australia is a state occupying the entire western third of Australia. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, and the Southern Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east, and South Australia to the south-east. Western Australia is Australia's largest state, with a total land area of 2,529,875 square kilometres, and the second-largest country subdivision in the world, surpassed only by Russia's Sakha Republic. The state has about 2.6 million inhabitants – around 11 percent of the national total – of whom the vast majority live in the south-west corner, 79 per cent of the population living in the Perth area, leaving the remainder of the state sparsely populated.

Northern Territory federal territory of Australia

The Northern Territory is an Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia. It shares borders with Western Australia to the west, South Australia to the south, and Queensland to the east. To the north, the territory looks out to the Timor Sea, the Arafura Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria, including Western New Guinea and other Indonesian islands. The NT covers 1,349,129 square kilometres (520,902 sq mi), making it the third-largest Australian federal division, and the 11th-largest country subdivision in the world. It is sparsely populated, with a population of only 246,700, making it the least-populous of Australia's eight states and major territories, with fewer than half as many people as Tasmania.

It forms dense thickets, preventing access for humans, native animals and livestock to waterways. The fruits (seedpods) float, and the plant spreads by dropping pods into water, or pods are washed downstream by seasonal flooding. Without the scarifying received by tumbling in streambeds, the seeds are slow to germinate.

Several control methods are used to reduce the existing population and the spread of P. aculeata in Australia. Three insects have been introduced to Australia for biological control; the parkinsonia bean weevils, Penthobruchus germaini and Mimosestes ulkei, both have larvae that specifically eat the seeds from parkinsonia pods and are proving to be a useful management tool, and the parkinsonia leaf bug, Rhinacloa callicrates, which destroys photosynthetic tissues but has had little overall impact on the plant. Fire is effective for young trees; mechanical removal and herbicides are also used.

Distribution

P. aculeata is native to the Sonoran and Chihuahan Deserts of southwestern United States (western Texas, southern New Mexico southern Arizona), and northern Mexico (Sonora and Chihuahua) as well as the Galápagos Islands. Its native range has expanded over the last several decades into the (Edwards Plateau and Central Texas). It has been moved by humans into the Caribbean, South America south to northern Argentina, and Hawai'i. It has been introduced in Europe and it is widespread in Australia. [1] This thin barked species does not become established in areas where weather dips below 20 degrees F. It has expanded into Southern California as far north as San Bernardino County.

Habitat

Parkinsonia aculeata has a high tolerance to drought, simply attaining shorter stature. In moist and humus-rich environments it becomes a taller, spreading shade tree. This plant prefers a full sun exposure, but can grow on a wide range of dry soils (sand dunes, clay, alkaline and chalky soils, etc.), at an altitude of 0–1,500 metres (0–4,921 ft) above sea level.

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References

  1. 1 2 "Parkinsonia aculeata". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  2. Construcción de Infraestructuras Mínimas Recreativas y Educativas en la Reserva Natural Punta Cucharas: Evaluación Ambiental: Punta Cucharas. Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales de Puerto Rico. Page 17. October 2012. Accessed 21 February 2019.

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