Jul 13, 200602:44 PMThe Life
Desert flora: smoke tree
Jul 13, 2006 - 02:44 PMThe smoke tree (Dalea spinosa), a member of the pea family, got its name from the plume-like growth and golden-gray color, which makes the tree look like smoke. It is a spiny, intricately-branched shrub that can reach a height of twenty feet. It has a small, crooked trunk with scaly, gray-brown bark, along with a compact crown of smoky gray branches and twigs.
The leaves, which appear for only a few weeks each spring before the tree flowers, are gray, very hairy and have gland-dots and wavy edges. Since the leaves appear for only a short time each year, the twigs must produce most of the plant's food by conducting photosynthesis themselves.
[Click thumbnail photo for larger image.]