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

Replanting of non-native Christmas Palm from Sarasota FL
November 28, 2012 - Do you know of a proven technique to plant a Christmas Palm in a built-in concrete pool deck planter box - using gravel around the soil root ball to delay the root bound condition we just ripped out?
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage to my Norfolk Island Pine in Houston, TX
March 18, 2010 - Houston, Texas experienced a rare 3-day snow event this winter that allowed snow to stay on my 20 ft. Norfolk Pine, in the ground for over 10 yrs. Every branch is now brown with all dead foliage. I ha...
view the full question and answer

Dying branches on Texas Mountain Laurel from Kempner TX
September 14, 2012 - The branches on my Texas Mountain Laurel are very dry and brittle. The leaves are also starting to die. The tree has been in my yard for six years and prior to that it sat wrapped in burlap for ov...
view the full question and answer

Appropriate use of redbud from Austin
May 04, 2014 - I am considering purchasing a hearts of gold redbud; I am also xeriscaping my front yard. I live in Austin,TX. Will this tree do ok in full Tx sun (8+ hours) with once a week watering? If this...
view the full question and answer

Why is cedar pollen so heavy this year?
January 08, 2011 - Dear Mr Smarty, Is this year a heavier than normal year for cedar pollen?? If so why?
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