Palo Verde in Full Bloom

The white branches of a palo verde tree, covered in bright yellow flowers, against an abstract background of mottled blues and browns

Back in April, I took a trip out to Arizona to visit family. We took a drive down to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Day-tripping to Organ Pipe can be frustrating, photographically-speaking, because you tend to get there midday and everybody's ready to leave and go find some supper well before the sun gets nice and low. But it is still, absolutely, worth the visit. If any place in the Sonoran desert deserves the descriptor "lush", it is this place.

The palo verde trees were, to me, the biggest surprise. I'd seen cholla and prickly pear and yucca in bloom, but I'd never seen anything like the palo verde trees. They're very respectable-size trees by most any standard (the Pacific Northwest, with their sequoia and redwood excepted, I suspect), and here they were, growing along the sides of roads and washes, absolutely covered in bright yellow flowers. I can see why they've become popular landscape plants in Tucson and Phoenix - they grow into shapely trees, and put on a fabulous show every spring.

Bonus trivia: According to my sources*, the palo verde trees are related to peas.

* /cough/ Wikipedia