En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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
1 rating

Saturday - October 11, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Cold hardiness of native Wild Olive in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am considering purchasing a Mexican/Texas Olive (Cordia boissieri) at the upcoming Wildflower Center plant sale to put in my yard in east Austin. I know this tree naturally occurring range extends to south Texas and I am concerned that this frost-intolerant tree might not make it or die back to the roots in the winter. Do you have any advice on the survivability and fitness of the Mexican Olive being planted in the Austin area? Thanks!

ANSWER:

We really can't tell you a whole lot more than our webpage on Cordia boissieri (anacahuita) does, that it is hardy to Zone 8, that it can survive in San Antonio, but still get nipped back to the ground by a hard freeze, and may drop all its leaves in a milder freeze. The fruit attracts birds and other animals, but is not considered a suitable food for humans. From a couple of other resources, including USDA Forest Service Wild Olive, we learned that it has better chances in a sheltered spot, in full sun and perhaps where reflected heat, as from a brick or stone wall, might be available. It is said to have a frost tolerance to 18 deg F, but still could lose all its leaves at that temperature. We also learned that shelter is important because it is not very wind-tolerant. It would appear that if you can provide the right, protected environment you could very well enjoy this tree/shrub for a long time. 

We also should caution you that the species on the Species Plant List for the Fall 2008 Plant Sale, October 17 (Members only), 18 and 19 are those that have been available in the past, and are not guaranteed to be at this sale. It is based on availability, and some are few in number, and may be sold out quickly. Many are provided by vendors, and we may not know until they are delivered exactly what we will have on sale.


Cordia boissieri

Cordia boissieri

 

 

More Trees Questions

Positioning a bald cypress among cattails in Silver Spring MD
April 30, 2009 - We have a rain garden, half of which is fairly overrun with broad- and narrow-leaf cattails. We've learned to be aggressive in thinning these out 2 to 3 times during the growing season. We also have ...
view the full question and answer

Deep Rooted Large Shrub or Small Tree for Driveway Strip
August 21, 2014 - I am in eastern Massachusetts. My condominium Grounds Committee is searching for a small tree suitable to plant in narrow (4'-5') beds which divide two driveways. Can you suggest something whose roo...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for NY
February 26, 2012 - I am looking for a native evergreen shrub that could be used as a hedge or privacy screen on the Rockaway peninsula in Queens county. It is a beach community with sand soil ( except where it has been...
view the full question and answer

Optimum planting time for perennials and trees
November 02, 2007 - Our group is running out of fall workdays. Is it OK to plant native perennials and small trees in Central Texas during the winter months? Or should we wait now until the spring?
view the full question and answer

When is Texas mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) mature
October 08, 2007 - Can you tell me the life cycle for the native Texas mesquite? I have found one source that says it matures in 2-5 years, but no other sources confirm this. We are hoping to classify mesquite flooring ...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center