If you live in this area, have you noticed how loaded down the Palo Verde trees are with fresh new seed pods? We have many varieties of Palo Verde here but the most predominant in the Preserve, and the one I’m referring to this morning, is the Foothill Palo Verde (Parkinsonia microphylla). On Saturday’s MSC hike, fellow steward Len M. reminded me how delicious the beans of Foothill Palo Verde are. (Yes…I said “beans”. They are a legume) When they’re fresh, the taste is reminiscent of peas so I grabbed a few as we were hiking and when I got home, I went out and harvested another handful. Yum!
NOTE: I also tasted the beans of the Blue Palo Verde (Parkinsonia florida) but they weren’t as tasty so I thought I would show you a couple of the differences between the two trees to help you identify the Foothill.
1. First, and most noticeable, are the seedpods. Note that the Foothill’s pods are pinched tightly around each seed while the Blue Palo Verde’s pods are wider and flatter.
2. Second are the leaves. The Foothill Palo Verde has extremely small round leaves (like dots) that are lined up along a stem. The Blue’s leaves, on the other hand, are larger and in clusters. You’re more likely to see leaves on the Blue Palo Verde because it’s typically in home and business landscaping where it gets watered regularly.
It’s so amazing to me how fat and juicy these seeds (beans) are considering the trees in the Preserve get very little water!
(another FYI: The pods were shot in full sun and the leaves in shade which is why the color is different. The actual color is more like the pods but not quite as yellow.)