The botanical name for Arizona rosewood is Vauquelinia californica. The species name californica means of California, but it’s not found in California. Whaaa? So here’s what I’m guessing may have happened…emphasis on guessing: William Emory, while surveying the border between Mexico and the United States (a couple times in the 1840s and1850s) was collecting plants and sending them back east to be identified by the botanist John Torrey. Emory collects some rosewood somewhere along the Gila River in what was then the Mexican Territory called Alta California. Botanist Torrey names it californica for that territory. Ironically it was probably collected in what was soon to part of Arizona, so the common name Arizona rosewood is more accurate than the botanical. All of this is some speculation on my part, but a little bit of research went into it…emphasis on a little bit.
And…I gotta tell you that I’m always delighted to see Arizona rosewood in landscapes…yards, medians, commercial properties. If you get me going I’ll start shouting urban locations of rosewoods, “Have you seen them in Benson near Tractor Supply?” “The ones on the U of A Campus are trimmed into trees!” Those kind of excited exclamations. But listen, seeing rosewood in the wild is always the best and highly recommended.
The photos are mine and taken at our home.