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Info Sheet PDF
Arizona Rosewood

Vauquelinia californica

Mature Height*: 

7 to 30 feet

Mature Width*: 

5 to 10 feet

USDA Hardiness Zone Range:

8 to 10

Hardy to: 


Water Requirements: 

Drought Tolerant

Shade Requirements:

full sun to part sun

Native to:

Upper Sonoran Desert in Arizona and central Baja California

Origin and Adaptability:

A native of the diverse landscapes of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, specifically the Madrean Sky Islands and the Peninsular Ranges. Vauquelinia californica, commonly known as Arizona Rosewood, thrives in arid and semi-arid climates. Adapted to its native rocky slopes and canyons, this slow-growing evergreen shrub or small tree offers landscape architects a resilient and visually captivating option for hot and dry regions.

Architectural Form and Foliage:

Arizona Rosewood showcases an elegant and multi-branched form, maturing into a small tree with a rounded canopy. Its dark green, leathery leaves boast a distinctive serrated edge, adding textural interest to the landscape. This species maintains its vibrant foliage year-round, providing a touch of evergreen structure throughout the seasons.

Floral Display and Growth Habit:

While not its most prominent feature, Arizona Rosewood produces clusters of tiny white flowers during late spring. These delicate blooms offer a touch of subtle charm against the backdrop of the deep green foliage. This slow-growing species matures gradually, ensuring a manageable pace for incorporating it into landscape designs.

Light and Water Requirements:

Thriving under the warm sun of the southwestern United States, Arizona Rosewood flourishes in full sun, requiring at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. While it can tolerate some light shade, ample sun exposure promotes optimal growth and maintains its dense foliage. This drought-tolerant species requires minimal watering once established, making it a water-wise choice for sustainable landscapes in arid regions.

Wildlife Support and Biodiversity:

Native to the diverse ecosystems of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, Arizona Rosewood plays a vital role in supporting local wildlife. Its dense foliage provides valuable nesting and sheltering habitat for birds, while the small white flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Cultural Significance and Local Context:

While not holding a specific cultural significance in the way some plants do, Arizona Rosewood contributes to the unique visual identity of the Sonoran Desert and Madrean Sky Island regions. Its presence in these landscapes reflects the natural beauty and resilience of the arid southwestern United States.

Challenges and Considerations:

While generally low-maintenance, Arizona Rosewood may benefit from occasional light pruning to maintain its desired shape and encourage new growth. Landscape architects should consider its mature size and full sun requirement during the planning stages to ensure proper placement and avoid overcrowding other plants.

Integration into Landscape Designs:

Arizona Rosewood's evergreen foliage, slow growth habit, and drought tolerance make it a valuable asset in various landscape designs, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. Designers can utilize it for adding evergreen structures, creating low-water gardens, supporting local wildlife, and introducing a touch of desert character: Arizona Rosewood reflects the natural beauty of the southwestern United States.

Designing with Arizona Rosewood:

Vauquelinia californica empowers landscape architects and designers to create vibrant and sustainable landscapes in hot and dry climates. This slow-growing evergreen tree offers a combination of attractive foliage, ecological benefits, and a connection to the natural heritage of the southwestern United States.

*Height and width estimated for growth in the Tucson, AZ area. True sizes may vary.

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