En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Foundation plants unlikely to provide good shade for rattlesnakes in TX
August 28, 2011 - I would like to plant native grass around my new home in the country near Mason, TX. My concerns are the rattlesnakes that are common here, and if they could "hide" in the native grasses since they ...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants for a bird/small wildlife refuge in Wichita Co, TX.
August 26, 2011 - With our continuing drought in North Texas, I'm planning to transform my small backyard into a bird/small wildlife "refuge". What types of native plants and grasses can I plant in dry, hot Wichita ...
view the full question and answer

Water-loving evergreen for Chicago
April 21, 2008 - Is there a water loving evergreen that will do well in the Chicago weather?
view the full question and answer

Hedge for steep slope by sidewalk in Wisconsin
August 25, 2008 - I have a fairly steep slope from the sidewalk to my yard. The space is about 48" high, 30" deep and 120' long. I was thinking that a boxwood hedge would fill that space nicely but no one else aroun...
view the full question and answer

Identification of pines on I35 between Dallas and Denton
May 03, 2011 - I frequently drive I-35E from Dallas up to Denton and I've often wondered if the pine trees that I see near the road and in the surrounding areas, especially between Lewisville and Denton, have been ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center