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Texas wild olive (Cordia boissieri)

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Common names:
Give a thumbs up Texas wild olive
Give a thumbs up Mexican olive
Give a thumbs up Anacahuita
Give a thumbs up Anacahuite
Give a thumbs up White Geiger

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 8b -9.4 °C (15 °F) to -6.7 °C (20 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 10b
Plant Height: 10'-25'
Plant Spread: 15'-30'
Leaves: Evergreen
Other: Semi-Evergreen at 30 degrees; Loses leaves at 27 degrees
Fruit: Edible to birds
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: White
Flower Time: Late winter and early spring
Late spring or early summer
Late summer or early fall
Late fall or early winter
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Flowering Tree
Edible Parts: Fruit
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Toxicity: Other: Fruit may be mildly toxic to humans
Propagation: Seeds: Sow in situ
Can handle transplanting
Other info: Fresh seed preferred; develops tap root - in situ sowing best, but can be transplanted before extensive tap root development
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Monoecious

Bark 4 year old tree

Photo gallery:
Location: My Garden - Lake Jackson, TXDate: 2012-05-03Bark 4 year old tree
By krancmm
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Location: My Garden - Lake Jackson, TXDate: 2011-07-11Flower Cluster
By krancmm
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Posted by krancmm (Texas Gulf Coast - Zone 9b) on May 12, 2012 9:47 PM

Typically a 2‘-3‘ tall scrub shrub in the the most arid portions of the lower Rio Grande Valley and adjacent Mexico, but a little TLC makes a rapidly growing handsome small tree (or large shrub) with clusters of 2"-3" long trumpet-shaped flowers that flush repeatedly with adequate moisture and warmth. There‘s no waiting for flowers either -- flowering begins when the plant is only 2‘ tall.

The evergreen leaves are gray-ish green and rough with a lighter underside. Temps around 30° cause partial leaf loss; complete defoliation accurs at about 27° with twig and branch die-back in the mid-20°s. Plants quickly recover from occasional freezes, but this is a plant suited only for warm-winter areas.

Texas Wild Olive really, really wants to be a multi-stemmed shrub. In higher rainfall areas than its native ecosystem extensive pruning is required to keep it to a single trunk with a strong, shapely canopy. However the very lovely shaggy bark is a bonus to pruning up the plant.

Texas Wild Olive requires well-drained soil and neutral to alkaline pH. It is drought-tolerant but only after it's well-established.

In addition to its landscape appeal, the flowers bring bees, butterfies and hummers and the fruit attracts mammals and birds. For gardeners who don't want to devote time to pruning, Anacahuita makes excellent cattle and deer browse.

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