What is the Most Common Tree in The Desert? - EatHappyProject (2024)

There is a world beneath the sand in the enormous deserts like the Sahara, Arabian, and Gobis, which may appear harsh and lifeless. This world is much beyond our comprehension.

Against the common belief that deserts only mean sand and cacti, there are dozens of species of reptiles and insects, along with a few trees that are built tough and find their homes in the heat of a desert.

In this article, we’ll have a detailed look at the most common trees found in the desert, often referred to by their unique desert tree names, what makes them so special and capable of surviving the desert’s harsh environment, and which, if any, can be called the most common tree of the desert.”

Desert Trees, The Build

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Regarding adaptability, desert trees have made a lot of modifications over the years to survive the heat and water scarcity.

Starting with the leaves desert plants have leaves that are very far from our usual concept of leaves, which is evident from the fact that most of them don’t even have photosynthesis capability; they rely on their trunks for that.

The leaves found on desert trees are very small and largely converted into spines, thereby reducing the surface area, which helps minimize water loss through surface evaporation. The stems on these trees are flat, very thick, and perform photosynthesis, which is why they are green in color.

The stems themselves have various features to avoid water loss; there’s a waxy layer over them, and they are spongy to store water. If we talk about the roots, they extend very deep into the soil in search of water to support survival in the harsh heat of the deserts.

These features are necessary as the trees of the desert have a very important role to play in their ecosystem; they are somewhat capable of providing shade to humans and animals, they are the saviors against extensive soil erosion, and they provide a home for sustaining the diverse wildlife of the deserts.

Trees Commonly Found in The Desert

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Contrary to popular belief, deserts don’t only have cactuses. In these dry areas, we can actually find a remarkable variety of trees. The only catch? Because they are less prevalent than we might have thought, the cactus myth continues to exist.

When we list down the commonly found trees in the desert, the following names are prominent:

1. Desert Marigold

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Botanical Name: Baileya Multiradiata.

The Desert Marigold is one of the commonly found trees in the desert. It belongs to the aster family and is found in parts of Mexico and the United States.

They live for a year, are perennial pants, and have very fine hair-like leaves.

These grow to a maximum height of about 25 to 30 inches.

2. Desert Willow Tree

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Botanical Name: Chilopsis Linearis.

Delicate in nature, also found in parts of the U.S. and Mexico, are deciduous trees. During May is when they flower, and the bloom period extends till September.

They have beautiful looking light pink and lavender colored flowers. The family they belong to is the Trumpet Creeper. These grow to a height of about 35 to 40 feet; the leaves on this tree are light green and are 4 to 12 inches long.

2. Desert Sage

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Botanical Name: Salvia Dorrii.

Vert beautiful looking shrubs, these grow to a height of about 2 to 3 meters. The flowers of these extremely drought-resistant plants have a deep blue color and purple bracts. These plants also have a wide medicinal use, including treating headaches, stomachaches, and flu.

Their biggest survival hack is that once they are fully grown, they don’t need any water for further survival; they are evergreen plants.

Desert Trees, The Most Common

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So far, we have discussed three of the commonly found trees in the deserts, but there is one that is regarded as the most common among desert trees; it is called the Elephant Tree!

The botanical name for the Elephant tree is Bursera Microphylla. This tree belongs to the Bursera family and is recognized by its characteristic thick trunk, capable of storing water for days. Upon close study, this tree is found to be specially adapted for survival in desert conditions.

Commonly found in the deserts of Arizona, Anza-Borrego, Sonoran, and Santa Rosa. The massive trunk of this tree is what got its name, the Elephant Tree, as it resembles the trunk or giant leg of an elephant.

The Elephant tree also finds its use in the medicinal industry and is a common ingredient in preparing medicines such as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetes, etc.


All in all, the desert wildlife, however scarce, is beautiful and tough at the same time.

We have discussed the various distinctive features of these trees and the more commonly found desert trees and learned about the Elephant Tree, which is the most commonly found tree in the desert apart from the vast majority of cactuses.

We believe we were able to fulfill our agenda, which was to have a closer look at the most commonly found desert flora and learn about its distinctive nature.

We would like to end with the thought that the lifespan of trees is proof in itself of the power of resilience and perseverance.

Go green!

What is the Most Common Tree in The Desert? - EatHappyProject (2024)


What is the most common tree in the desert? ›

The most common tree in the desert is the acacia tree. Acacia trees are well-adapted to arid environments and can survive in harsh desert conditions. They have evolved to conserve water by reducing leaf surface area and developing long tap roots that can reach deep water sources.

What is the most common plant in the desert? ›

Barrel cactus is the most common plant available in the deserts across the world.

What is the name of the tree in the desert? ›

The Joshua tree provides a good indicator that you are in the Mojave Desert, but you may also find it growing next to a saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert in western Arizona or mixed with pines in the San Bernardino Mountains.

What tree grows well in the desert? ›

The Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) is another of the flowering desert tree varieties. It grows drooping clusters of purple flowers in spring. Producing sweet-smelling yellow flowers each spring, the mesquite tree (Prosopis) is another great desert-dwelling tree to consider.

Which tree is king of desert? ›

Since all parts of khejri are useful it is called the 'kalpavriksha of the desert'. It is also known as the 'king of the desert' and the 'wonder tree'.

Are trees common in deserts? ›

Trees in the desert? Most people think that deserts are – by definition – devoid of trees. Not true! Indeed, some of the strangest, oldest, and most remarkable tree species on the planet are found in drylands, a term often used to refer to deserts and semi-deserts, also known as arid and semi-arid lands.

Which 2 plants would most likely be found in the desert? ›

Over time, certain plants have evolved to survive and even thrive in these incredibly dry climates. Several species, such as palm trees, aloe vera plants, creosote bushes, and the well-known cacti, have developed many adaptations that enable them to grow in deserts.

What is the easiest plant to grow in the desert? ›

Water-Wise Sedums and Succulents

For a dramatic accent piece, or to add architectural interest to your landscape, plant a variety of succulents and sedums. They need little water and can take the heat.

What is the most common plant in Arizona? ›

Below are 9 plants that are the most common and general plants that are found in almost every single desert.
  • Desert sage. ...
  • Desert Marigold. ...
  • Desert Lily. ...
  • Desert Willow Tree. ...
  • Palm Trees. ...
  • Saguaro. ...
  • Barrel Cactus. ...
  • Phoenix Desert Plant Nursery.
Jan 25, 2019

Can you eat Joshua tree fruit? ›

The Joshua tree, like other yuccas, has edible fruits, seeds, flowers, and young flower stalks, and were part of the diets of many native peoples of the southwest (3,5). The fruit of the Joshua tree, however, is dry and corky and not often eaten, except by the Death Valley Shoshone.

What is the oldest tree in the desert? ›

The Great Basin Bristlecone pine trees live for thousands of years and the oldest of these gnarled, weather-beaten, and resilient old trees is confirmed to be almost 5,000 years old. It has been named Methuselah and its location is kept secret by the guardians of this forest.

What is the only tree in the Sahara Desert? ›

The acacia was the only tree for 250 miles in Niger's Sahara desert, and was used as a landmark by travelers and caravans passing through the hostile terrain.

Which tree grows the fastest in desert? ›

Desert Willow

Known for its rapid growth rate, this tree can reach a height of 25 feet within a few years. It's not your typical willow; it's drought-tolerant and thrives in the arid Arizona climate.

What is the best small tree in the desert? ›

Guide to Small Desert-Adapted Trees
  • Mastic Tree (Pistacia lentiscus) ...
  • Mulga Acacia (Acacia aneura) ...
  • Palo Blanco (Acacia willardiana) ...
  • Screwbean Mesquite (Prosopis pubescens) - Full sun, accepts some shade. ...
  • Sweet Acacia (Acacia farnesiana) ...
  • Texas Ebony (Ebenopsis ebano) ...
  • Texas Olive (Cordia boissieri) ...
  • conserve@chandleraz.gov.

What is the least messy tree in Arizona? ›

Detailed Descriptions of Low-Litter Trees for Arizona Landscapes
  • African sumac. The African sumac (Rhus lancea) is an evergreen tree with a wide, rounded canopy that spreads to 20-30 feet high and wide. ...
  • Arizona rosewood. ...
  • Brazilian pepper. ...
  • Cypress, Arizona. ...
  • Cypress, Italian. ...
  • Carob. ...
  • Cascalote. ...
  • Cherry laurel.
Jan 9, 2023

What is world's most common tree? ›

Originally Answered: What is the most abundant tree on Earth? The Red Alder is the most common tree worldwide, growing fast in barren or burned areas. Other sources say the pines are the world's most abundant trees.

What is the most common tree ever? ›

The common juniper is the most widely distributed tree species in the world. This slow-growing, long-lived coniferous evergreen tree usually grows low and shrub-like, but it can also grow up to ten metres tall.

What desert tree stays green all year? ›

Texas Mountain Laurel Tree

Texas mountain laurel trees are native to Texas and grow well in sunny, dry environments. These evergreen trees keep their leaves all year, and they grow slowly, so they're great patio trees. They're also small, just 15' by 15' when fully grown, so they won't offer much shade.


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