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Cascalote grows as a large shrub to small tree that is semi-evergreen to deciduous with a low branching habit, 15-20 ft. tall and as wide. Trunks and branches are covered with heavy thorns; leaves are bipinnately divided into 8-10 pairs of rounded leaflets. Long arching panicles of lemon-yellow flowers grow above the foliage in late fall to early winter; heavy red-tinged bean type pods mature in late spring.

Cascalote is native to the warm climate zones of southern Mexico where it is adapted to desert washes, mesas and slopes with long period of heat and drought. Experience has shown it can be damaged by cold below 25°F, but established plants quickly recover. These adaptations enable it to grow in all but the coldest microclimates in the Inland Empire.

Cascalote is useful as a small scale patio and courtyard flowering tree. In southwestern theme gardens, bark and seed pods provide colorful and interesting character. Pruning is important to achieve good shape and density and to reveal the plant's trunks and branching character. Fall flowers occur when the majority of other plants are dormant.

Water Needs

Cascalote performs best in gardens and landscapes when planted in well-drained soils and when it receives normal winter rainfall along with low amounts of irrigation during summer.

The chart shown below provides a baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months marked by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Tree
Foliage Character: Semi-deciduous
Habit: Upright, Open, Multi-trunk, Low-branching
Growth Rate: Fast
Height: 15 ft. - 20 ft.
Width: 15 ft. - 20 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Season: Winter, Fall
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Slopes, Residential spaces, Raised planters, Foundations, Flowering accent plant, Commercial spaces, Banks, Background plant, Attracts bees, Attracts butterflies


Grows quickly, and proper pruning is important as the tree establishes to establish a nice shape and branch density (4). Take care when pruning to be cautious of the large thorns on the trunk and branches. For this reason, it's not the best choice for a landscape with small children running around. Plant fall through spring. Prune in spring (D).



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