Is This All?

I wonder if the Green Anole, Anolis carolinensis, is baffled? It was once a larger tree, but now is only a trunk and some foliage, where is the rest of it?

This mature Retama, Parkinsonia aculeata, froze during the winter storm in February. I assumed it was a lost cause and that the dead trunk and limbs would need removing. But in late April, new growth burst upwards from the base of the plant and shot toward the sky with speed. In July, the Hub and I finally had time to remove the dead portion of the tree and I also pruned the multitude of shoots from its base, leaving a single strong one with an attached second branch which will serve as the trunk of the “new” tree and its two lead branches. The crotch of the new trunk is just a few inches below the crotch of the original trunk. The two main limbs are now about 6 feet tall and growing by the day.

There’s a lot of green in this photo, but the feathery foliage forms a V from behind the original trunk and is loving the plentiful sunshine. At some point later in autumn or winter, I’ll have the Hub don his lumberjack hat and saw the original trunk to the ground.

By next summer, the tree should be even taller, maybe with more limbs, and covered in its signature yellow blooms. Pollinators will join with anoles in enjoying its presence.

19 thoughts on “Is This All?

    • I once read a description of retama as being “a frighteningly fast grower” which is an apt description. That said, its limbs aren’t particularly weak-wooded. Also this year, there a bunch of seedlings, which I’ve only rarely seen. I plan to put another retama about 10 feet away from this original one. And then, pull up the rest of them. 🙂

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  1. Tina you give me great joy that Parkinsonia aculeata sprouted two large branches from its own cut trunk when it froze in the February storm. It will be a big tree again and anoles and pollinators will be delighted with its wonderful yellow flowers – I love it. The photos are fabulous. Tina Nature is incredible and fantastic. Take good care of both of you. Let your back improve. Hugs. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.


    • I was tickled, Beth, when I saw that it was returning. The anole population has been down this year, probably due to the harsh February weather, but they’re around and I expect they’ll rebound.


    • It’s a fast one, that’s for sure. I remember after I planted the original about 20 years ago how shockingly fast it grew. But I’m not complaining. By the way, the foliage is all sweet and feathery, but the limbs have thorns. Ouch!! Mean ones, too!

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    • Yes and those teeth bite! I’ve been dinged a few times so it’s a plant I’m careful around. That said, once it grows tall, the thorns are *mostly* high up. Of course that doesn’t help when we have to take it down and cut up the limbs…:)

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  2. I’ve been watching new Retamas sprout up in a local highway construction zone, and they’ve shared the tendency of yours to be fast growers. I’ve always enjoyed the combination of their foliage and the pretty yellow flowers.

    As it happens, I saw my first Anole of the summer just today: a young one lounging on the wall of my building. I’d see a couple of geckos, but had wondered at the absence of other lizard species. They may just be late in emerging this year.


    • I was in the garden yesterday and noticed a few more of those sprouts, which I promptly clipped. The “trunk” that I left has a circumference of about two inches! Retamas are scary fast growers! The flowers are such good pollinator magnets, though I’ve always had trouble getting good photos, due to the height and the breezes.

      I’m seeing more anoles, but they were sure slow to emerge this year.

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