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.  

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

Trees

Albiza julbrissin  (Silk Tree) Fern-like leaves, deciduous, pink flowers
Bauhinia spp   (Orchid Tree) Orchid-like flowers, frost sensitive

Brachychiton populneus (Bottle Tree)

Tall tree, shiny leaves

Ceratonia siliqua (Carob) female

Spreads widely - large area needed

Eucalyptus spp (many species)*

Some species cause litter.  Invasive roots

Melia azedarach   (Chinaberry Tree) Clusters of yellow berries

Olea europaea 'Majestic Beauty' and 'Swan Hill' (fruitless varieties)

Produces almost no pollen

Olneya tesota (Desert Ironwood)

Slow growing

Pinus edulis (Pinon Nut Pine)*

Small, slow growing

Pinus halepensis (Aleppo Pine)*

Hardy, fast growing

Pinus monophilia (Singleleaf Pinon Pine)*

Similar to P. edulis

Pinus pinea (Italian Stone Pine)*

Large tree

Pinus roxburghii (Chir Pine)*

Large tree

Pistacia atlantica (Mt. Atlas Pistache) female

Slow growing, handsome tree

Pistacia chinensis (Chinese Pistache) female

Needs a large space

Pistacia vera (Pistachio) female

Produces pistachio nuts

Pittosporum phillyraeoides (Willow Pittosporum)

Narrow leaves, pendulous branches

Zizyphus jujube (Chinese Jujube, Common Jujube)

Attractive tree, shiny leaves

Shrubs That Become Trees

Acacia constricta (Whitehorn Acacia, Mescat)*

Native, deciduous, spring flowers

Acacia greggii (Cat's Claw Acacia)*

Sharp thorns, yellow spring flowers

Acacia minuta (smallii) (Southwestern Sweet Acacia)*

Attractive, cold hardy, yellow flowers

Chilopsis linearis (Desert Willow)

Deciduous, twiggy, white to pink flowers

Feijoa sellowiana (Pineapple Guava)

Attractive

Punica granatum (Pomegranate)

Attractive, red flowers and fruit

Sophora secundiflora (Mescal Bean, Texas Mountain Laurel)

Violet flowers, attractive

Vauquelinia californica (Arizona Rosewood)

Dense shrub, hardy

Vitex agnus-castus (Chaste Tree, Monk's Pepper)

Grows widely with watering

Yucca brevifolia herbertii (Joshua tree)

Greenish white flowers

Penstemon baccharifolius (Cutleaf Penstemon)

Pyracantha (red berried types) (Pyracantha (many cultivers)

White flowers, orange-red berries

Rosa banksiae (Lady Banks Rose, Tombstone Rose)

White or yellow flowers

*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 3/2013