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?


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
1 rating

Monday - May 10, 2010

From: Edinburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Can Texas Ebony seed pods be used as mulch in Edinburg TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I just bought a house with two large Texas ebony trees out front. I read somewhere that the seed pods could be used as mulch? Is this true? If so, would I need to remove the seeds from the pods first? If they can't be used as mulch, any other good ideas for them? I'll have plenty!


Ebenopsis ebano (Texas ebony) is, indeed, a native to South Texas and in our Native Plant Database.  Here is some information and pictures from Arid Zone Trees. From Arizona WildFlowers, we extracted this information: "In Mexico, the seeds from the pods are eaten, and the black wood shells are roasted as a coffee substitute." We would assume, then, that there is nothing poisonous about the pods or the seeds, so using the pods as a mulch should be okay, since we found no information to the contrary. We think it would be well to remove the seeds from the pods, if you don't want little treelets popping up all around. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery: 

Ebenopsis ebano

Ebenopsis ebano

Ebenopsis ebano

Ebenopsis ebano





More Trees Questions

Looking for fruit and nut trees to plant in San Augustine, TX
April 05, 2011 - I am setting up residence in San Augustine, Texas on approximately 9 acres of land. We wanted to plant a few of each type of fruit and nut trees that would prosper in the area (for wildlife and for o...
view the full question and answer

January good time to plant live oak in January from Manor TX
January 19, 2014 - I want to plant a Live Oak in January. Is this a good time to plant it?
view the full question and answer

Desert Willow size question from Austin, TX
June 12, 2015 - Dear MSP, I have a desert willow named Edith. We got her from the CoA a couple of years ago for recycling our Chirstmas tree. She's doing well except her three little trunks are teeny-tiny. We wan...
view the full question and answer

Dying Bigelow oaks in Austin
July 30, 2010 - I have several stands of Bigelow Oak (Q.sinuata var. breviloba) in NW Austin mixed with Yaupon and Cedar Elms. Several have died each year for the past 8 years. Two now have brown, dry leaves which is...
view the full question and answer

Screening Suggestions in Brooklyn, NY
March 08, 2013 - My neighbor directly in back of me has shrubs that are growing all over my fence. Also his 9-foot-tall shed facing me is rusted. What can I do to improve my view so that I can enjoy my backyard more?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center