Carnegiea gigantea - Parkinsonia microphylla - Prosopis velutina Provisional Shrubland Alliance
Saguaro - foothill palo verde - velvet mesquite desert scrub

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormShrub
  • Elevation150-1100 m
  • State RarityS2.2
  • Global RarityG4
  • DistributionUSA: AZ, CA. Mexico (NatureServe)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added2009/09/01

Characteristic Species

Parkinsonia microphylla is co-dominant in the shrub or small tree canopy with Cylindropuntia bigelovii, Encelia farinosa, Fagonia laevis, Larrea tridentata and Tetracoccus hallii. Emergent trees may be present at low cover, including Carnegiea gigantea or Olneya tesota.

Vegetation Layers

Shrubs or small trees < 8 m; canopy is open to intermittent. Herbaceous layer is usually sparse, yet may have spectacular annual blooms.


Metavolcanic and sedimentary outcrops, mesas, foothill slopes, and washes. Soils are thin, often with a caliche layer.

Other Habitat, Alliance, and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Foothill paloverde-saguaro series
NVCS (2009) Parkinsonia microphylla shrubland alliance
Calveg Palo verde
Holland Arizonan woodland
Munz Creosote bush scrub
WHR Desert succulent shrub, Desert wash
CDFW CA Code 33.150.00