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Crown Of Thorns

Koeberlinia spinosa

Details & Attributes

Plant Type(s) Shrub
Native to Arizona Yes!
Water Needs Low
Sun Full sun
Pollinators Bees, wasps
Has Spines Yes
In relative feet, width by height
6-12'+ × 6-12' +
Freeze Tolerant Yes
Flowering Season April-July
Flower Color White
Minimum Temperature Range 0-10 °F
Leaf Description Thin, readily discarded from branches
Fruit Dark purple berries
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Elevation Range 2000-5000 ft.
Description Crown of thorns is a rugged, heavily armed species found in southern Arizona. This plant prefers rocky, gravelly slopes, where it can form fairly good sized and virtually impenetrable thickets. Stems are green and photosynthetic so this plant tends to have few if any leaves, and each branch comes to a sharp point. 4 petalled white flowers are followed by dark berries which attract birds who can eat in the safety of the interwoven, spiked branches. This is a really interesting and unusual species which is both attractive to wildlife (especially birds), and extremely drought tolerant. Koeberlinia could be a unique addition to a cactus garden where it will add a different texture, or it can be used as part of an informal hedge planting alongside other wildlife attracting shrubs like wolfberry (Lycium spp.), desert hackberry (Celtis pallida), and greythorn (Ziziphus obtusifolia).