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
2 ratings

Friday - July 17, 2009

From: Chappell Hill, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Wild Texas olive trees in Chappell Hill TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Are wild texas olive trees male and female? Mine is evergreen with no olives. I would like to have another that is evergreen and has no fruit but all I find are deciduous and have fruit.

ANSWER:

Cordia boissieri (anacahuita) is a 12 to 36 ft. tall tree, semi-evergreen to evergreen, blooming white sporadically during the year. If you are growing them in Chappell Hill, the trees would be semi-evergreen, dying to the ground after a severe frost. They are endemic to Texas, growing wild only in the lower Rio Grande Valley, and reported to be near extinction in the wild. This USDA Plant Profile shows their native area, and a small area in which some are probably being cultivated. 

Research did not turn up any indication that this plant is dioecious, that is, requiring a male and female plant to reproduce, so it is probably monoecious, with both male and female flowers on the same plant.  It is not closely related to other olives, and is a member of the Borage family. The fruits are not considered edible, but are loved by the birds.

If you already have an evergreen, non-bearing tree, your best bet is to propagate it by seeds, as suggested on our webpage on this plant. It is probably not available commercially, partly because you are out of the area where it is native, and partly because it is nearing extinction in the wild.


Cordia boissieri

Cordia boissieri

Cordia boissieri

Cordia boissieri

 

 

More Trees Questions

What are the grey-green plants on oak trees in San Marcos, TX?
March 12, 2011 - The oak trees in the neighborhood in San Marcos, TX, are covered with clumps, or balls, of gray/green fluffy-looking plants. they remind me of bromeliads. You can pull and knock them off; after wind ...
view the full question and answer

What are the cone shaped evergreens around Pilot Point, TX?
January 26, 2016 - What are the cone shaped evergreens around Pilot Point, Texas called? They are dark green with spiky leaves and rough bark. I have a row planted as a windscreen and want to transplant a couple from a ...
view the full question and answer

Tall privacy hedge in Fort Worth, Texas
January 15, 2010 - I need a fast growing plant that reaches a height of 14 to 16 feet suitable as a privacy hedge. Prefer minimal maintenance and disease resistant. I have a 3 story condo being built behind my home in...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a specimen shade tree in San Rafael, CA
June 04, 2013 - I'm looking for a specimen shade tree that can get 30'x30', that doesn't drop a bunch of crud (seeds, etc) on the patio (leaves are ok), medium to low water requirement, roots are behaved, zone 9,...
view the full question and answer

Narrow, Small Tree for Austin, Texas Yard
December 17, 2015 - I need recommendation on what type of tree to plant between our neighbors and our home. The wall to wall space is 15 feet at best, with a fence in between. Currently we have a young mulberry but are b...
view the full question and answer

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