Scottsdale’s Largest And Oldest Trees?

Scottsdale Treasures

Giants live in an oasis in the desert

 
Outdoor shot of Scottsdale water feature and backyard with desert landscaping.

There’s always more cool historic Scottsdale knowledge that I coming across. Something you may not have known about the Phoenix/Scottsdale area is we have at least two neighborhoods with towering, hundred-year-old visitors from across the world.

I’m talking of course about trees!

Pair of Historic Scottsdale Pistache Trees Gain Heritage Status

One of the first things guests and visitors to historic Scottsdale will nod their heads in agreement about is the lack of tall trees in Arizona. Phoenix metro is decidedly under forested compared to where they have come from. This is partly because most of our native trees don’t get very tall even when cultivated specifically to be in “tree form”. Another issue is the availability and good use of water. The hot climate and lack of readily available groundwater serves to limit the growth of many imported tree varieties.

That’s not to say that we don’t have some tall or interesting trees, but the trees at Messinger Mortuary are something quite special. Take a look the next time you’re driving by on Indian School Road at Miller at these towering pistache trees. These giants are almost 100 years old and were brought here in the 30’s all the way from modern day Iran for the Arizona Biltmore Resort. These trees would have been extras from the plantings intended to “green the desert” grounds of the famous vacation spot. It is so lovely that they have survived to this day — towering over pretty much everything around them.

The Black Sphinx Date Palms

There are another historic set of trees: the Arcadia Date Palms, imported over a century ago and planted en masse. This variety produces delicious fruit of a special variety called the black sphinx date. These trees are so old that they no longer produce pups (new trees suckering from the base of the parents) which means that these tall ladies are getting rarer every day. These dates sell for a premium on the local market and have quite a following.

Most of the trees are females, needing just one male in the vicinity to pollinate. Home owners occasionally remove these date palm trees for their building projects which is an incredible shame. They give Arcadia a very distinctive look and feel — unlike anywhere else in Phoenix.


There you have it, some charming regional news about trees just in time for things to warm up and those trees to get to work shading our homes and streets. Long live the trees!

Speaking of local cool stuff in 2017, if you know a kid who likes science and tech then you need to get the Scottsdale Steam series calendar on your bookmarks. They’re offering fun and free events for children 5 and up to get inspired.

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