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Mr. Smarty Plants - Wild Texas olive trees in Chappell Hill TX

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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

 

 

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