ALLERGY AND ASTHMA IN THE SOUTHWESTERN UNITED STATES 

Recommended Plants for Homes of Allergic People in Maricopa and Pima Counties

The plants listed below have been selected for their low production of airborne pollen, as well as utility in landscaping and availability in plant nurseries.  This is only a partial list of suitable plants.  Many species closely related to those on the list are also available from local nurseries and could be used.  The plants listed are low water use or drought tolerant, selected from the list published by the Arizona Department of Water Resources.  Pictures of most of the plants can be found in "Plants for Dry Climates" by Mary Rose Duffield and Warren Jones, H.P. Books, Fisher Publishing, Tucson, September 2001.   Photos of many of these plants can also be seen on the USDA Plants site,  the Phoenix Tropical Gardens.

Not shown on the list are high water use, low allergy plants such as deciduous fruit trees, most roses and many other brightly colored flowers, none of which produce large amounts of airborne pollen.  Identification of female trees may be impossible unless purchased as large specimens during their flowering season.

BOTANICAL NAME (COMMON NAME)

COMMENTS

Palms

Chamaerops humilis (Mediterranean Fan Palm) female

Small palm

Phoenix canariensis (Canary Island Date Palm) female

Large palm, feather fronds

Phoenix dactylifera (Date Palm) female

Very tall palm tree

Washingtonia filifera (California Fan Palm) female

Massive palm

Washingtonia robusta (Mexican Fan Palm) female

Very tall, fast growing

Vines

Bougainvillea spp Striking color, freezes in winter

Antigonon lepiopus (Queen's Wreath)

Sprays of pink flowers

Campsis radicans (Common Trumpet Creeper)

Orange-red flowers

Macfadyena unguis-cati (Cat's Claw Vine)

Yellow flowers, likes sun

Passiflora foetida (Passion Flower)

Exotic flowers

Rosa banksiae (Lady Banks Rose, Tombstone Rose)

Accent Plants

Agave americana (Century plant)

Succulent

Agave vilmoriniana (Octopus Agave)

Succulent

Agave weberi (Smooth-Edged Agave)

Succulent

Aloe barbadensis (Barbados Aloe)

Succulent

Aloe saponaria (Mediterranean Aloe)

Succulent

Dasylirion wheeleri (Sotol, Desert Spoon)

Leaves 3-4' long, curved spines on leaf edges

Fouquieria splendens (Ocotillo)

Grows to 25', deciduous, red flowers

Hesperaloe parviflora (Red Yucca, Red Flowered Hesparoloe)

Long spikes of pink flowers in spring

Oenothera berlandieri (speciosa childsii) (Mexican Evening Primrose)

Purple flowers

Yucca aloifolia (Spanish Bayonet Yucca)

Sharp spikes at points of 2-3' long leaves

Yucca elata (Soaptree Yucca)

White flowers, grows to 20'

Yucca recurvifolia (pendala) (Pendulous or Curveleaf Yucca)

Soft-pointed leaves, white flowers

Yucca gloriosa (Spanish dagger)

Grows to 8'

Yucca rigida Leaves 2' long, grows to 15', white flowers

Yucca whipplei (Our Lord's Candle)

Sharp spikey leaves, white flowers

Cacti

Carnegiea gigantea (Saguaro)

Cereus peruvianus 'Monstrosus' (Peruvian Cereus)

Echinocactus grusonii (Golden Barrel)

Some species of barrel cacti grow to 4' tall

Echinocereus spp. (Hedgehog, Rainbow Cactus)

Purple or crimson flowers

Echinocereus e.v. nicholii (Hedgehog Cactus)

Echinocereus pectinatus v. rigidissimus

Echinopsis spp. (Easter Lily, Sea Urchin Cactus)

Ferocactus spp. (Barrel Cactus)

Opuntia spp. (Prickly Pear, Cholla)

Stenocereus (Lemaireocereus) thurberi (Organ Pipe Cactus)

*rare cause of significant allergy

Acknowledgements:  List prepared in consultation with Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski PhD

Content Owner:  Michael J. Schumacher, MB, FRACP  
                            University of Arizona  
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Back                                                                                      Updated 8/2010