Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

New growth on live oaks in Houston
September 27, 2011 - My 2 10yr. old live oaks are putting out new growth (branches?) although, here in Houston, TX we are having such a drought. For the last 3 months, I have conscientiously watered my entire yard via ...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant Plants and moving Wax myrtles in Austin
April 30, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, What are the most fire resistant and drought tolerant plants for caliche soil in Austin area? I am considering relocating or removing my wax myrtle shrubs because they are ...
view the full question and answer

Why isn't my recently planted Mexican Redbud growing in Georgetown, TX?
April 11, 2010 - I planted a container-grown Mexican Redbud in early March. As of April 5th, it is showing no signs of buds or leaves. Other redbuds in the area (possibly Texas redbuds) have been blooming for severa...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native indoor palm in Guilford CT
April 08, 2012 - My question is I have an indoor palm plant that I have had for 7 yrs. It has grown from about a 5" plant to about 3' tall plant. The past few weeks the leaves are turning yellow & brown and lost abo...
view the full question and answer

Colony of bees nesting in sycamore
July 06, 2010 - I have a very large, old sycamore tree that has recently become home to a colony of honey bees. They have taken up dwelling in a hollow limb of the tree about 25 feet off the ground. While this is gre...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.