Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - September 07, 2007

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Possibility of Amyris madrensis or Amyris texana growing in Dallas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in the central city of Dallas, in the heart of the urban heat island (zone 8b). I am interested in Amyris madrensis and A. texensis. Will they survive winter here? Would they make a good evergreen screening hedge in addition to being a swallowtail larval plant? Do you have them growing at the center, and are they hardy there? Finally, if either of them would be satisfactory in my garden, do you have them for sale? Thanks very much.

ANSWER:

Sorry, it doesn't appear that either Amyris madrensis (mountain torchwood) or Amyris texana (Texas torchwood) is going to be a candidate for your Dallas landscape. It's a pity, because both have glossy green leaves, are evergreen (in their range), attract butterflies and have a luscious citrusy smell.

According to the USDA county distribution map, A. madrensis is found only in the counties at the southernmost tip of Texas, and is not believed to be hardy north of Houston. Read more about this species on this Texas A&M Extension website on A. madrensis. The Wildflower Center South Texas plant collection does include a specimen of Amyris madrensis, but it is only marginally hardy here in Austin. A hard winter will likely kill it one day.

Amyris texana is considered hardy to 20 degrees, and is also found in the southernmost counties and ranges up the coast into coastal marshes to the north and east. It is beginning to be used in landscaping in that area, but it seems unlikely that even in your "urban heat island" that you can guarantee winter survival of either of these plants.

You might, as an alternative evergreen, fragrant shrub for screening, consider the Morella cerifera (wax myrtle). It is also attractive to birds and has a fragrance that makes pruning almost fun. And the USDA county map shows the wax myrtle to be viable over the entire state of Texas.

In answer to your question on sale of these plants at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we have two plant sales a year, in April and October, the next sale being October 13 and 14. Although we raise a number of plants in our nurseries for these sales, we do not have the facilities to raise the larger shrubs and trees for sale. A number of approved native plant nursery businesses bring in a selection of the larger plants to sell on consignment. Our sales are all of native plants and almost exclusively those that can grow in our Central Texas home area, which would mean we would have neither of the shrubs you are interested in for sale. You can click on "Suppliers" under "Explore Plants" and find a list of approved native plant suppliers. In the search field, we put in "Amyris madrensis" and in the state, "Texas", of course, and received the message that the search got back no information, which probably means they are not widely available commercially. You might try the Suppliers list to find native plant providers in the Dallas area; there should be a website and/or a telephone number for any you are interested in contacting.

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Wound from non-native date palm thorn Naples FL
November 12, 2012 - Was trimming my pygmy date palm when a frond fell and a thorn pierced my rubber gloves and stuck me in the web of skin between my thumb and forefinger. Did not see a broken thorn but area where struc...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for trees to withstand high winds on Top Sail Island, North Caroloina.
August 20, 2013 - Moving to coastal southern North Carolina. Planting native trees and shrubs, wax bayberry, Redbud, love the River Birch. What type of tree has the deepest roots or would be least likely to blow over...
view the full question and answer

Perennials for flowerbed in Texas Panhandle
October 19, 2012 - I have a flowerbed in a partially shaded area and want some perennials. I live in the Texas Panhandle, soil is sandy, loamy. Hardiness zone is 6-B.
view the full question and answer

Non-native Genista racemosa from Houston
June 17, 2012 - Read your info on Genista Racemosa. Doesn't address my problem of it not blooming this year. It's in full sun and growing well, about 30" tall & round. Bloomed last year. We're feeding with ba...
view the full question and answer

Small native evergreen shrubs for North Carolina
May 17, 2007 - I live in zone 7 and need miniature shrub to go in flower bed situated in full sun. I love gardenias but afraid the intensity of the sun might be too much.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.