Winter Interest: Arizona Rosewood

Though we skipped winter this year, like 2016-17 but with a more normal, dry moisture regime, the high desert always has some winter dormancy. Even the bluegrass fairways aren’t so green with many hard freezes at night and a handful of lows in the teens.

But do you see anything in the distance?

A green, shrubby, and dwarf tree or two?


Not the olive-green Creosote Bush or assorted cacti and yuccas.

That’s the fairly-common and almost bullet-proof, Arizona Rosewood / Vauquelinia californica. I prefer mine pruned up to perform as a small evergreen tree in tight areas, but I’m not sure of this person’s accompanying landscape.

This looks good, too, and both stand at least 15 feet tall.


When I move, I’ll likely miss my glimpse of 4,950 foot Picacho.


This rosewood thrived in many landscapes others and I designed back in that other place 3 hours north as it does here. It needs some winter moisture to supplement the summer monsoon season, and it has 2 related species that to me look more refined – Vauquelinia corymbosa var. angustifolia and almost tree-like Vauquelinia corymbosa var. heterodon.

All Vauquelinia species enjoy the moderate temperatures of USDA zones 7a to 8b, between about 3,000 and 6,500 feet elevation in the southwest. The coldest climate I’ve seen V. californica grow decently in is the east side of Santa Fe; the couple ones in Denver look horrible.

I’ll let you look up the long, serrated and evergreen foliage and other attributes.