The tree is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, where it grows below 2,500 feet in sandy washes, rocky slopes, and valleys. If drought is a significant mortality factor, then these events must be spaced centuries apart. This Ironwood Forest National Monument is made up of 129,000 acres and contains a significant system of cultural and historical sites covering a 5,000-year period. We did not observe these symptoms in any trees in IFNM, nor did we find any publications documenting its occurrence in wild trees. Please be sure to review the FAQs before your visit. Branches that produce flowers often drop their leaves during bud formation, and re-leaf when summer rains begin. 1995). ), nor does the literature reviewed mention dieback of ironwood trees during the past several decades. Wood Origin: North AmericaGender Association: FemininePlanetary Association: Venus, Mercury, MoonElemental Association: Spirit, Water, Some EarthMagical properties: Desert Ironwood is not the hardest wood in the world, but it is the hardest wood that does not contain a large amount of gum or resin content, meaning that it is bone dry. The desert ironwood tree of Arizona produces one of the heaviest woods in the world. Ironwood functions as a “nurse plant” and a “habitat-modifying keystone species” of benefit to many other species of flora and fauna. Nurslings exposed by woodcutting have a greater probability of damage from radiation, breakage from trampling, and death due to browsing (Nabhan and Suzán 1994). The population explosion in the Sonoran Desert over the past 50 years has also led to increasing recreational impacts in ironwood habitat. In some areas more than three-quarters of them are now dead. It blooms in the spring with pink to pale rose/purple to white blooms that look much similar to sweet peas. The habit of the ironwood is multi-trunked with a broad canopy that dips down to touch the ground. Partially digested fruit from this “rain,” or from defecation of other animals, are torn apart by animals seeking to gain sustenance while selecting out toxic or distasteful portions of the fruit. It is one of the hardest and densest woods in the world, with a specific gravity around 1.2 or more. The water use efficiency of ironwood ranks with some of the most drought tolerant Sonoran Desert plants, such as creosotebush (Larrea), bursage (Ambrosia), and wolfberry (Lycium spp.) It is remarkably resistant to rotting, perhaps because its heartwood is rich in toxic chemicals that make it essentially non-biodegradable (Dimmitt 2000a). 1998). The ironwood acts as a nurse plant, with its canopy providing the ideal shelter and nutrients for many other plants, including the Saguaro cactus. ? Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member. It is not, however, prone to insect problems or disease. Ironwoods “fix” nitrogen through symbiotic relationships with Rhizobia bacteria (Felker and Clark 1981). Desert trees anchor a xeriscape. This blank is stable and ready to shape into a fine finished product. Their eastern range limit is in the Tucson Mountains and the extreme southwestern foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The following article discusses how to grow desert ironwood and its care. In addition, the size and foliar density of an ironwood are strong factors influencing their relative value as nurses. These ecological dynamics are termed “nurse plant ecology.” Other large trees co-occur with ironwoods along washes, but ironwoods may be the only tall branching woody plants on the valley floors or bajada slopes (Vander Wall 1980). These pods contain one to eight ovoid, shiny, coffee-colored, and extremely hard-shelled (at maturity) seeds (Solís-Garza and Espericueta 1997). Many animals gather and store ironwood seeds in caches to be eaten later. Like other desert legume trees, ironwood trees conserve water during the high daytime temperatures and during dry seasons. (Szarek 1979). 520-647-3453 Ironwood & Stabilized Burl Blank Specializing in Knife Handle Craft Blanks since 1998. Desert Ironwood FLAWED turning blank … Ironwood may grow as a multi-armed shrub or as a tree. Their relative influence on plant and wildlife diversity is proportionally greater in plains and rocky slope habitats above ephemeral and intermittent watercourses. Considering how long dead ironwood trees persist in the landscape, mortality must be extremely low because it is rare to see more than a few dead trees in a population. Because mature foothill palo verdes in the nearby Tucson Mountains are 125 to 175 years old (Turner et al., 2003), the mature palo verdes currently living in the Monument are presumably at least 100 years old. The shade provided by an ironwood tree allows other plants to get a foothold in the desert. Ironwood populations play a vital role in sustaining other species and populations of the Sonoran Desert. But we found no ironwood trees in the Sawtooth Mountains and adjacent valley floors within the IFNM boundary. The most likely candidate for the last catastrophic drought that killed ironwood trees to the ground is the one of 1891-1904; some call it the most severe drought documented in southern Arizona (Turner et al. This is true Desert Ironwood (Olneya tesota), a unique species that is a staple for the carving trade in Mexico and is scarce on the US Market. The ironwood “leaf” is doubly divided into 4 to 12 pairs of narrowly elliptic leaflets called pinnae. $10.00. This mortality has not been reported in the scientific literature. Suzán (1994) observed this unpredictable pattern of germination, known as “discrete episodic recruitment.” Flowering and fruiting require considerable diversion of nutrients and energy from other parts of the plant. Arizona Desert Ironwood Wood Ring - Arizona Desert Ironwood Solid Wood Ring - Arizona Desert Ironwood Ring - Carved Wood Ring - Carved Ring dbsoule. Where open soil temperatures can reach 65 C (148°; F), the 15 Centigrade degrees (27 Fahrenheit degrees) cooler temperatures under ironwood canopies increase seedling survival rates and decrease water stress in mature plants (Suzán 1994). While all three genera have narrowly elliptical leaves and less than 12 ovules per pod, Olneya is distinguished by its paired leaves, flower clusters on short shoots that extend from the middle of the stem (instead of the end of a branch), and pods more rounded than the pods of peteria and brushpea. They also “pump” nitrogen and other nutrients up from their deepest root zones. $12.00. Maturation occurs within four to eight weeks of pollination (late June through August) (Turner et al. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! 1995; images above). This granite is characterized by large crystal size and it weathers into a coarse, very porous soil that allows deep infiltration of water and air. ----- Sustainability: Not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Free shipping. Please inquire, Limited quantity. Elevational range is also greater in the species’ northernmost limits in the Arizona Uplands and Lower Colorado River Valley. Dry weight) (Kraugman 1948). 1996). The disease seems to be associated with disturbance. 15 to 8 million years ago) (Van Devender 2000), but most paleogeological records of Ironwood date from the mid- to late Holocene. Buffelgrass is highly invasive, decreases plant species richness and diversity in native plant communities, and increases fire frequency. Ironwood canopies provide microenvironments buffered from freezes for understory plants. A member of the family Fabaceae, this semi-evergreen tree drops leaves in response only to freezing temps or prolonged drought. 1995). 0.4 inch). Ironwoods and mesquites also act as traps for the nutrient-rich organic debris carried by flash floods (Nabhan 1993). Ironwood may take the shape of either a multi-trunked shrub no more than two meters in height, or a canopy-forming tree with one thick trunk achieving heights up to 15 meters (49 ft; Shreve and Wiggins 1964, Solís-Garza 1993, Arizona Register of Big Trees 2000). They bloom from April to June. Some mid-sized trees, however, do not necessarily serve as nurses for many plants, especially if grazing is heavy. Ipe wood samples ( iron wood) 5/4 x 6 × 7 inch long. The ironwood is both a constant witness to a changing environment and an active participant in the maintenance of generations of lush Sonoran Desert plant and animal communities. A large proportion of the individuals in these habitats have old, dead trunks that have resprouted from the crowns. The geographic limits of ironwood distribution are closely matched with the boundaries of the Sonoran Desert. Over watering encourages fast, weak growth. In the U.S., the highest ironwood densities recorded per hectare are in Arizona Upland sites in Pima County (Ragged Top, 35 trees/ha = 14.2/acre; Cocoraque Butte [Roskruge Mountains] and Saguaro National Park West, 22 trees/ha = 8.9/acre) (ASDM 2000). The seeds are eaten by many native Sonoran animals and are also enjoyed by native people of the region where they are reported to taste like peanuts. 520-484-4939 Ironwood trees function as a habitat-modifying keystone species, that is, a species that exhibits strong influences on the distribution and abundance of associated species (Mills et al. This area is characterized by sparse but large ironwood trees; the plot had ten trees over 7 m (23 ft) tall. The differences in the mycorrhizal fungi and soil composition under ironwoods and mesquites allow them to favor different sets of understory plants creating heterogeneity through “patch dynamics.” Ironwoods tend to slightly increase alkalinity and moisture availability, hardly effect soil texture, but significantly increase root, bacteria, and fungi densities where mesquites decrease soil alkalinity and increase clay content and moisture availability. Possessing one of the richest stands of ironwood in the Sonoran Desert, the monument also encompasses several desert mountain ranges including the Silver Bell, Waterman, and Sawtooth, with desert valleys in between. The oldest known ironwood was determined to be around 800 years old, but their average age is about 200 years. It is the largest and longest living of the Sonoran Desert plants and can grow as high as 45 feet (14 m.) and live as long as 1,500 years. After pollination occurs, ironwoods produce slightly curved, knobby pods that reach lengths of 3-6 cm (1.2-2.4 inches) and widths of 8-9 mm (ca. FAST 'N FREE. The desert ironwood is a slow growing, shrub-like tree, unremarkable to look at except when it sprouts purple flowers in late springtime, but quite widespread across localized regions of southwest Arizona where it inhabits gravelly washes and low elevation hillsides. Arizona Desert Ironwood Knife & Gun Handle Supplier. It is however protected. The droughts that caused the observed topkill in the ironwoods must have been more severe than what we have recorded during the last century, and the same drought would likely have killed most of the mature foothill palo verdes (Bowers and Turner 2001). Characteristics, Phenology, and Physiology. Arizona Upland is the highest elevation, wettest, and coldest of the six subdivisions of the Sonoran Desert (Shreve 1964). A unique, figured Arizona desert Ironwood scale set up for sale. Each leaf consists of two to four “fingers” with paired leaflets down the sides of each. Ironwood trees are abundant in some washes, while adjacent ones only half a mile away are dominated by mesquite or blue palo verde and nearly or completely devoid of ironwoods. Desert ironwood, or palo fierro in Spanish, provides many wildlife and plants with habitat and resources critical to their survival. Ask about Custom size orders and wholesale discounts on Arizona Ironwood. Paid Subscribers don't see ads! 1995). As nurse plants, ironwoods provide safe sites for seed dispersal, protect seedlings from extreme cold and freezes, protect saplings from extreme heat and damaging radiation, and function as prey refugia. The largest known ironwood, located close to Gila Bend, measures 4.32 meters (14.2 ft) around its trunk, with a canopy height of 15 meters 49 ft), and a crown spread of 14 meters (46 ft; Arizona Register of Big Trees 2000). So even though most of the trees on these rocky sites are rather short and look like saplings at first sight, many are in fact ancient (see images below). This southwestern tree lives in desert habitats and provides shade and food for many species. This compound leaf has a pair of small curved spines at its attachment to the branch (Dimmitt 2000a). In Tucson, ironwood flowers and fruit occur in most years, but are abundant only four years per decade (Dimmitt 2000a). It is found in the dry regions of the desert below 2,500 feet (762 m.), where temperatures very rarely dip below freezing. It ranges massively in color and can have some stunning figures as a result. The primary cause of death of ironwood trees is unknown. The desert ironwood (Olenya tesota) is native to the Sonoran Desert from southern Arizona through the counties of Pima, Santa Cruz, Cochise, Maricopa, Yuma, and Pinal and into southeastern California and the Baja peninsula. The wood of the Ironwood is one of the hardest and heaviest woods in the world (Búrquez 1999). The gray bark is smooth on young trees but becomes fissured as it matures. For your safety we’ve made modifications to our operations. Dec 15, 2007 #1. The desert ironwood tree, Olneya tesota, can be found growing only in the Sonoran Desert of Mexico, California and Arizona.Check out these spectacular photos of ironwoods. growing in the same region. Ironwood trees are considered a keystone species in this region because they provide food and shelter for several species of animals and plants. Germination should occur within a week. Keeping company with the ironwood trees are mesquite, palo verde, creosote, and saguaro, blanketing the monument floor beneath rugged mountain ranges named Silver Bell, Waterman and Sawtooth. As mentioned, the seeds are eaten either whole or ground and roasted seeds make an excellent coffee substitute. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Wood Origin: North AmericaGender Association: FemininePlanetary Association: Venus, Mercury, MoonElemental Association: Spirit, Water, Some EarthMagical properties: Desert Ironwood is not the hardest wood in the world, but it is the hardest wood that does not contain a large amount of gum or resin content, meaning that it is bone dry. Legumes such as ironwood and mesquite influence the soil composition beneath their canopies in several ways (Garcia-Moya and McKell 1970). A more recent drought in the 1990s killed significant numbers of palo verdes (Bowers and Turner 2001). Along this transect ironwood trees change their habitat from their anomalous location on upper bajadas in the east and move down into their more characteristic habitat of valley floor washes in the west. Ironwood is also a good choice for shading a patio or an informal sitting area. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. All guests, including members, must reserve tickets in advance, Natural History of the Desert Ironwood Tree (Olneya tesota), Synopsis of published literature The spiny, low-sweeping branches of the ironwood provide an effective prey refugium for vulnerable seedlings intertwined within its foliage. The summer storm (right) came much too late to save the tree in the foreground, though the large wash in the background has healthy trees that have leafed out from an earlier storm. We keep plenty of ironwood and some other species ready to ship on demand. A disturbing exception is these old ironwood trees in the Chuckwalla Valley (west of Blythe, CA) that have been declining for at least 30 years. Since the ironwood is considered an endangered species, growing your own ironwood is an excellent way to preserve this keystone species. Flowers and fruit occur as early as March in the southern states of Sonora and Baja California, Mexico, than in Arizona and California to the north. Ironwoods are truly a hallmark of the desert landscape living well beyond other desert plant species. I am from Yuma Arizona and this stuff is everywhere around here. Its role in the desert is considered so important that the Ironwood tree has been a protected species in Arizona since the 1970’s. It may be long-term drought, though groundwater pumping has also been suggested. We have observed its effects of slow yellowing and diminution of foliage over several years at ASDM and at Bach’s Greenhouse Cactus Nursery in the foothills of the Tortolita Mountains. Ironwood grows extremely slowly, perhaps due to its low rates of photosynthesis that keep it from wasting soil moisture. Ironwoods and their nurseries make the structure of vegetation much more diverse providing birds with more nesting opportunities. Desert Ironwood Olneya tesota Arizona, California, Northwestern Mexico ( Sonoran Desert ). The flowering period in each locality lasts only 10-18 days. Dating of ironwood trees is difficult through standard tree-ring dating, but annual trunk diameter growth rates (Turner 1963; Suzán 1994) and unpublished radiocarbon dating estimates (Suzán 1994) suggest that some trees have persisted for more than 800 years. The tree known in the U.S./Mexico borderlands as desert ironwood or palo fierro (Olneya tesota) is one of many woody legumes found in washes and hillside drainages in the Sonoran Desert. Desert ironwood trees grow only in the Sonoran desert. It is too dense to float in water, but burns at a high temperature. Ironwoods behave differently in this zone; they live on bajadas above the cold valley floors (image below left). Mar 2, 2006. Ironwood barely reaches into adjacent Mohave desertscrub, coastal thornscrub south of Guaymas, Sonora, and foothills thornscrub east of Hermosillo, Sonora. We’re open! Soil explains much of the lushness of the tree growth in the Silver Bell region. The Monument’s claim to fame is that in this area ironwood trees have more ecological associates than anywhere else this phenomenon was measured (ASDM 2000). Roughly half of all new germinated seedlings found for plants such as jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) and palo verde occur in tight clusters near rodent burrows (McAuliffe 1990). Ironwoods lose less water through their leaves than other woody perennial plants. A keystone species helps define an entire ecosystem. The color may be like the picture above or any variation of light to very dark browns, with or without lighter areas. It is worth noting that Ironwood Forest National Monument was not created and named after the ironwood tree because it has the largest trees or densest forests. Any desert tree that shelters new plants is called a nurse tree. Seeds should either be scarified or soaked for 24 hours prior to sowing. (See further discussion of ironwood longevity below.). The desert ironwood (Olenya tesota) is native to the Sonoran Desert from southern Arizona through the counties of Pima, Santa Cruz, Cochise, Maricopa, Yuma, and Pinal and into southeastern California and the Baja peninsula. There is a root rot caused by a fungus in the genus Ganoderma (Olsen 1999, Hine 1999). Therefore the younger ironwood stumps visible at present must have been topkilled before today’s mature palo verdes established, and those that have topkilled and resprouted twice or more are probably several centuries old. From shop dbsoule. or Best Offer. McAuliffe (1984a) demonstrated spiny, or thorny nurse plants can dramatically reduce predation on cactus seedlings by large and small herbivores, such as ungulates, rabbits, and rodents. While Ironwood is not endangered or threatened, its populations dwindle annually over tens of thousands of square kilometers. That is, the ecosystem would differ remarkably if the keystone species ceased to exist. The tree is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, where it grows below 2,500 feet in sandy washes, rocky slopes, and valleys. and palo verdes (Parkinsonia spp.) Ironwood cutting can result in greater damage to understory plants (Nabhan and Suzán 1994, Suzán et al. Arizona Upland is the highest elevation, wettest, and coldest of the six subdivisions of the Sonoran Desert (Shreve 1964). Solís-Garza and Espericueta (1997) have confirmed that virtually no ironwood regeneration had occurred to date in areas where commercial woodcutting has been permitted in Sonora. Where does desert ironwood grow? The rapid disappearance of the desert ironwood tree has affected the livelihoods of local native artisans who relied on the tree to provide wood for carvings sold to tourists. 1999). On most of the rocky bajadas ironwoods are small trees or large shrubs seldom more than four meters (13 ft) tall and much shorter than the saguaros that usually grow with them. While ironwood occurs in all six subdivisions of the Sonoran Desert, it varies greatly in its density and relative dominance among these regions. Model: Classic Blade Edge Length: 4 inches Steel Type: O1 Steel Thickness: 9/64 (3.5mm) Edge Grind: scandi Handle Material: arizona desert ironwood Handle Liners: thin black Hardware: brass loveless bolts & tubing Handle Thickness: 4/5 In addition to serving as a buffer from abiotic stresses, ironwood buffers nursery plants from some, but not all, biotic stresses impacting their survival and reproduction. Desert Ironwood (Palo Fierro in Spanish) only grows in the Sonoran Desert in Southwestern Arizona and the Northwestern part of Mexico.? That drought also thinned out many desert landscapes (Turner et al. The Desert Ironwood comes from the Pea family and can only be found in the Southwestern part of Arizona, Southern California and Northwestern part of Mexico. Some have evidently died to the ground (topkilled) at least twice in the past. This porous, well-aerated soil permits tree roots to penetrate deeply to reach the deep moisture. These slow rates of biomass accumulation contribute to the remarkable density of its heartwood. Urban developments are threatening their habitat. $48.00. From shop markdiller. The tree blooms heavily in alternating years. Ironwood is nearly endemic to the Sonoran Desert (Turner et al.