Civano Growers has released the first collection of Chilopsis linearis, coined the Bubba Series. “We are very excited to release this line of trees. It’s something that has never been done with our arid-adapted trees,” says Nick Shipley, chief grow officer.
Chilopsis linearis, commonly known as desert willow, is a flowering, deciduous, cold-hardy, drought-tolerant tree that is native to the Southwest. Desert willows are versatile in the landscape, commonly used in commercial or residential projects with fragrant blooms that attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.
The lineage of the Bubba Series was inspired by ‘Bubba’, a Chilopsis cultivar that is proven to thrive in arid urban environments. Originated by Paul Cox at San Antonio Botanical Gardens, Bubba is a native, fast-growing, upright clone that boasts green glossy leaves and pink and burgundy two-toned flowers. Shipley notes, “These characteristics, along with Bubba’s proven track record, make it the perfect candidate for breeding desert willows.”
‘Sweet Bubba’ is the first hybrid of the series. A cross between 'Bubba' and ‘Sweet Katie Burgundy’, the tree exhibits all the characteristics of Bubba with a much bigger bloom that is burgundy. As an added bonus, the tree is virtually seedless.
‘Bubba Jones’ is another member of the series, named after Warren Jones, who was an author, dendrophile, and professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona. ‘Bubba Jones’ exhibits a larger, statuesque growth habit and is low seeding with pink blooms.
“Selecting and breeding cultivars is very important as the climate changes. We need to continue developing plants that are better suited to our changing environment,” says Shipley. “Desert willows offer the best of both worlds - they are attractive ornamental trees that can handle the extremes while promoting native wildlife.”
Civano Growers is based in Tucson, Arizona. With decades of experience in growing native and arid-adapted woody perennials and trees, plant breeding is the heart of their operation. Read more about Civano's operation here.