Totally Tucson:

Local Plants

for Low-Care Landscapes  

Why local plants?

Creating a spectacular landscape with local plants is probably nowhere easier than in Tucson. Within the four mountain ranges that define its boundaries, the city has an amazing array of plants, from stately saguaros to colorful perennial wildflowers which can be used for gardens that range from lush and green to stark and dramatic. Our local species are adapted to extremes of temperature and rainfall, are easy to maintain, and feed and house local birds, insects, and other fauna. Using them in landscapes also helps preserve the strong “sense of place” which makes Tucson such a wonderful city to live in.

"Totally Tucson" plant list:
The “Totally Tucson” plants listed below occur within the valley and the four surrounding mountain ranges up to 4500 feet elevation--in what could be considered the “saguaro zone”. The list is not comprehensive. It includes plants that are well known and generally stocked in nurseries and a few rare species which are available on occasion. Most riparian species are omitted because they fare poorly outside of moist locations.
   


Trees:
Acacia constricta “Whitethorn acacia”
Acacia greggii “Catclaw acacia”
Celtis reticulata “Netleaf hackberry”
Chilopsis linearis “Desert willow”
Eysenhardtia orthocarpa “Kidneywood”
Lysiloma watsoni “Desert fern tree”
Morus microphylla “Texas mulberry”
Olneya tesota “Ironwood”
Parkinsonia florida “Blue palo verde”
Parkinsonia microphylla “Foothills palo verde”
Prosopis velutina “Velvet mesquite”
Sapindus drummondii “Soapberry”

Shrubs:
Abutilon incanum “Indian mallow”
Acacia angustissima “Fern acacia”

Acacia millefolia "Fernleaf acacia"

Acourtia wrightii “Desert holly”
Aloysia wrightii “Oreganillo”
Ambrosia deltoidea “Triangle-leaf bursage”
Anisacanthus thurberi “Desert honeysuckle”
Artemisia ludoviciana “Western mugwort”
Asclepias linaria “Pineleaf milkweed”
Atriplex canescens “Fourwing saltbush”

Bouvardia glaberrima “Scarlet bouvardia”
Calliandra eriophylla “Fairy duster”
Celtis ehrenbergiana (pallida) “Desert hackberry”

Condalia globosa "Bitter condalia"
Coursetia glandulosa “Baby bonnets”
Crossosoma bigelovii “Rhyolite bush”
Dalea pulchra “Bush dalea”

Dalea versicolor v. sessilis "Indigo bush"
Dicliptera resupinata “Dicliptera”
Dodonea angustifolia “Hopbush”
Encelia farinosa “Brittlebush”
Encelia frutescens “Green brittlebush”
Ephedra nevadensis “Mormon tea”
Ericameria laricifolia “Turpentine bush”
Eriogonum fasciculatum “Flattop buckwheat”

Eriogonum wrightii "Wright's buckwheat"
Gossypium thurberi “Desert cotton”

Guardiola platyphylla “Guardiola”
Hibiscus biseptus “Rose mallow”

Hibiscus coulteri “Desert rosemallow”
Hyptis emoryi “Desert lavender”
Jatropha cardiophylla “Limberbush”
Justicia californica “Chuparosa”
Justicia candicans “Mexican honeysuckle”
Krameria parvifolia “Range ratany”
Larrea divaricata (tridentata) “Creosotebush”
Lotus rigidus “Deer vetch”
Lycium fremontii “Wolfberry”
Menodora scabra “Yellow menodora”
Plumbago scandens “Plumbago”
Senna covesii “Desert senna”
Simmondsia chinensis “Jojoba”
Sphaeralcea ambigua “Globe mallow”
Tecoma stans v. angustata “Yellow bells”
Telosiphonia brachysiphon “Rock trumpet”

Trichostema arizonicum “AZ bluecurls”
Trixis californica “Trixis”
Vauquelinia californica “Arizona rosewood”
Zizyphus obtusifolia “Graythorn”

Vines:
Cissus trifoliata “Arizona grape ivy”
Clematis drummondii “Old man’s beard”
Janusia gracilis “Slender janusia”
Lachnostoma arizonica
Marah gilensis “Wild cucumber”
Maurandya antirrhiniflora “Snapdragon vine”
Mirabilis multiflora “Colorado four o’clock”

Cacti:
Carnegiea gigantea “Saguaro”
Cylindropuntia arbuscula “Pencil cholla”
Cylindropuntia versicolor “Staghorn cholla”
Echinocereus fasciculatus “Hedgehog cactus”
Echinocereus rigidissimus “Az. rainbow cactus”
Ferocactus wislizeni “Fishhook barrel”
Mammillaria grahamii “Pincushion cactus”
Opuntia engelmannii “Engelmann prickly pear”
Opuntia santa rita “Purple prickly pear”
Peniocereus greggii “Queen of the night”

Accent Plants:
Agave chrysantha “Golden-flowered agave”
Agave schottii “Shindagger”
Dasylirion wheeleri “Desert spoon”
Erythrina flabelliformis “Coral bean”
Fouquieria splendens “Ocotillo”
Nolina microcarpa “Beargrass”
Yucca baccata “Banana yucca”
Yucca elata “Soaptree yucca”

Perennial Wildflowers:
Amoreuxia palmatifida "Saiya"
Bahia absinthifolia “Bahia”
Baileya multiradiata “Desert marigold”

Datura wrightii “Sacred datura”
Dichelostemma pulchellum “Desert hyacinth”
Dyssodia acerosa “Shrubby dyssodia”
Dyssodia pentachaeta “Golden dyssodia”
Glandularia gooddingii “Goodding verbena”

Jatropha macrorhiza “Ragged nettlespurge”
Melampodium leucanthum “Blackfoot daisy”
Oenothera caespitosa “Tufted evening primrose”
Penstemon parryi “Parry penstemon”
Psilostrophe cooperi “Paperflower”
Ruellia nudiflora “Ruellia”

Senna covesii “Desert senna”
Zinnia acerosa “Desert zinnia”

Annual Wildflowers:
Argemone pleicantha “Prickly poppy”
Eschscholtzia mexicana “Mexican poppy”
Gaillardia pulchella “Blanket flower”
Kallstroemia grandiflora “Arizona caltrop”
Lupinus sparsiflorus “Desert lupine”
Orthocarpus purpurascens “Owl’s clover”
Proboscidea althaefolia “Devil’s claw”

Grasses:
Aristida purpurea “Purple threeawn”
Bouteloua curtipendula “Sideoats grama”
Bouteloua gracilis “Blue grama”
Heteropogon contortus “Tanglehead”

Muhlenbergia emersleyi “Bull grass”
Muhlenbergia rigens “Deer grass”
Sporobolus airoides “Alkali sacaton”

Suggested reading:
These publications provide useful information
on the planting and care of local plants:
“Native plants for southwestern landscapes” by Judy Mielke
“Low water use plants” by Carol Shuler
“Pruning, planting and care” by Eric Johnson
“Plants for dry climates” by Mary Rose Duffield and Warren Jones
“A natural history of western trees” by Donald Culross Peattie
“Agaves, yuccas and related plants” by Mary and Gary Irish
“Landscape plants for dry regions” by Jones and Sacamano
Arizona Native Plant Society booklets

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