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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - January 13, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Cold tolerance of Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia lunarioides)
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in Austin, and I'm considering planting an Anacacho Orchid Tree. How cold tolerant is it? Would the tree have been damaged in the recent 18 degree temperatures we experienced?

ANSWER:

According to the University of Texas at El Paso Chihuahuan Desert Plants database, Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid tree) is hardy down to 15 degrees F.  The temperature on Jan. 9, 2010 at Bergstrom International Airport in Austin was 9 degrees F. and at Camp Mabry it was 17 degrees.  These were both record lows for the day and, in general, it is very unusual for the temperature to reach so low in Austin.  It remains to be seen if the local Anacacho orchid trees were hurt.  There are two in the general area of Camp Mabry that we've observed—one is about 5 feet tall and it's leaves have all turned brown (the leaves of the Anacacho orchid tree are somewhat persistent, although the tree is deciduous).  The other tree that is probably 7 or 8 feet tall still had some leaves that appeared undamaged although many of its leaves had also turned brown.  The ones at the Wildflower Center had freeze damage to their leaves, but otherwise the trees appear to be fine.

So, the jury is still out.  Our sense of it is that we will probably see some damage to the trees depending on local conditions, but most will survive just fine. Check back with us in April and we can give you an assessment of how these particular trees mentioned above are doing.

 

More Trees Questions

Cupressus arizonica with central leader cut in Sedona, AZ
February 11, 2009 - Will a healthy Cupressus arizonica continue to grow in its native habitat, in Arizona, once the central leader has been cut?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen native trees for Austin
January 31, 2009 - Please recommend all evergreen native trees for Austin TX.
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Texas Mountain Laurel in Austin
May 02, 2010 - I have an adult (over 25 years?, 20 feet tall?) Mountain Laurel next to my house in Austin. The winter of 2009/10 it lost most of its leaves. It did bloom and leaf out this Spring--not vigorous espec...
view the full question and answer

Oak Bark Loss in Arlington, TX
May 04, 2013 - I have multiple oak trees in my yard (in north texas) that have begun to lose their bark in small chunks. I'm in the middle of the city so their are no deer and yes it's been a dry 2 years but this...
view the full question and answer

Why so many acorns in Houston?
November 16, 2009 - My son's home in Houston has a Live Oak. This year it has dropped MILLIONs of the seed pods. This hasn't happened in the nine years of living there. Is anything wrong with it? It looks OK but he ...
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