Parkinsonia florida grows to heights of 10–12 metres (33–39 ft). It is a rapidly growing large shrub or small tree, and rarely survives to 100 years. Compared to the closely related Parkinsonia microphylla (foothill paloverde), it appears more decumbent in overall form, is taller, and matures more quickly. The plant's trunk, branches, and leaves are gray-green in color, hence the common name. The plant is drought-deciduous, shedding its foliage for most of the year, leafing out after rainfall. Photosynthesis is performed by the gray-green branches and twigs, regardless of absent leaves. The flowers are bright yellow, and pea-like, which cover the tree in late spring. They attract pollinators such as bees, beetles, and flies. They are followed by seed pods which are slightly larger and flatter and have harder shells than the foothill paloverde. These are a food source for small rodents and birds.