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PlantFiles: Desert Fern, Feather Bush
Lysiloma watsonii

Family: Mimosaceae
Genus: Lysiloma (ly-sih-LOH-muh) (Info)
Species: watsonii (wat-SON-ee-eye) (Info)

Synonym:Lysiloma watsonii var. thornberi
Synonym:Lysiloma microphylla var. thornberi
Synonym:Lysiloma thornberi
Synonym:Lysiloma acapulcense var. brevispicatum
Synonym:Lysiloma brevispicatum

4 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked
From seed; direct sow after last frost
From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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to view:

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #1 of Lysiloma watsonii by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #2 of Lysiloma watsonii by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #3 of Lysiloma watsonii by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #4 of Lysiloma watsonii by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #5 of Lysiloma watsonii by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #6 of Lysiloma watsonii by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #7 of Lysiloma watsonii by Xenomorf

There are a total of 17 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral grnlily On Jan 21, 2015, grnlily from Englewood, FL wrote:

I was wondering if anyone can tell me if this small tree will grow in South Florida zone 9b. I'm thinking a problem might be Floridas high humidity.

Positive Intergarlictic On Feb 14, 2014, Intergarlictic from Pasadena, CA wrote:

I have volunteers and they are growing very fast and tall. The preying mantis love for their ootheca (sack of babies). This thrills me to no end. Those are great bugs to have around and very friendly. Although, I do hope my hummingbirds are cautious. They frequent the cactus flowers nearby.

I am very grateful to have these plants arrive in the middle of what is to be a long drought. I welcome their fluttery beauty and other-worldly looking blossoms.

Positive lysis On May 2, 2011, lysis from Scottsdale, AZ wrote:

Beautiful tree, but like the jacaranda, not very cold hardy below 28F.

Positive tucsonfeather On Mar 29, 2011, tucsonfeather wrote:

I absolutely loved this plant, I pulled out a argentine mesquite and replaced it with the feather tree and was enjoying seeing it grow. The leaves are fabulous and soft and it leaves a beautiful layer of mulch behind that enhances my front yard. I live in an association and have received numerous compliments. However, it is now the end of March and I haven't seen any buds or leaves growing on the tree. Scratching the bark with my keys shows a brown inner layer that is dry to the touch. I believe this tree is officially dead. I do see some sapplings growing at the base of the tree but only a few leaves at best and it appears to originate from the root area of the tree not the tree itself. Any thoughts on whether I should let the leaves turn into a shrub or should I pull it out and try again. The freeze really only killed two plants my mexican lime tree and I believe this one as well. Any thoughts?

Positive sun_baked_in_AZ On Mar 20, 2005, sun_baked_in_AZ from Maricopa, AZ wrote:

growing on North side of the house and doing very well. keeping its leaves throughout the winter. It is now a small tree with a caliper of about 3 inches with an umbrella type top end. very nice decorative tree. Some of the leaves appear to be golden brown at this time.. March 19th. Leaves are like mimosa or mesquite in structure.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Chandler, Arizona
Glendale, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Stanfield, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Vail, Arizona
Aguanga, California
Pasadena, California
Henderson, Nevada

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