Summary of desert willow and its traditional use

Kumeyaay name: unknown

Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)


Desert willow is a small tree native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. It is commonly seen in washes and along riverbanks in the Colorado and Mojave Deserts. Ranging from 4 ½ feet to as much as 24 feet in height, it can have the general appearance of either a shrub or a small tree. The linear curved leaves are winter deciduous. It has fragrant pink flowers that attract hummingbirds and bees.


Kumeyaay uses are unknown but the Cahuilla used this plant as a source of wood for making house frames, bows, and granaries for storing mesquite, acorns, and other foods.