En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Origin of cultivar of Sophora secundiflora

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

Sunday - April 01, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Origin of cultivar of Sophora secundiflora
Answered by: Anne Ruggles

QUESTION:

Howdy, Mr. Smarty Plants! I am hoping you can shed some light on the origin of my silver-leaved TX Mountain Laurel, "Silver Peso". Some nurseries refer to it as a genetic variation of Sophora secundiflora, some refer to it as a cultivar, and still others refer to it as Sophora arizonica, native to Arizona. The NPIN database makes no reference to an Arizonica variety, So I'm wondering what gives? How did this tree come to be? Thanks!

ANSWER:

You have encountered a mash-up of terminology, some of it scientific and some from “common” language. The NPIN database is constantly growing; one day you may find an entry for Sophora arizonica. The short answer to your question is that Sophora arizonica and S. secundaflora are both species native to North America; both with fairly limited ranges. The first has a limited distribution in Arizona and the second is native to Texas, New Mexico, and northern Mexcio.

We went to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Natural Resources Conservation Service, Plants Profile database. This shows that there are 12 species in the genus Sophora in North America. Of those 12, one is S. arizonica (native to Arizona only) and one is S.  secundiflora native to Texas and New Mexico.

 

We also went to the ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System on-line database) Taxonomy working Group web site and accessed the North American database for the family Fabaceae (Sohphora is a member of this family). This database was updated in 2011. It also shows 12 species within the genus and includes both S. arizonica and S.  secundiflora.

The Sonoran Desert Naturalist describes the range of S. Arizonica as having a "very restricted range. Isolated populations on eastern and southern foothills of the Hualapai Mts. of Mohave Co. and in portions of Graham and norther Cochise Co., Arizona. A related plant, Texas Sophora (aka Mescal Bean), Sophora secundaflora, is widely cultivated in Phoenix and Tucson xeriscapes." You can find photos of S. arizonica on their web site. 

The Wildflower Center, as you have found, has an entry for S. secundaflora.

 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Plant Identification Questions

Native North American bulbs
August 19, 2011 - I saw your list of 4 lilies native to the Northeastern United States, which was very helpful. What other bulbs are native to North America? Although I garden in Connecticut, I am interested in learn...
view the full question and answer

Identity of pink bell-shaped flowers in Kansas
June 01, 2013 - I have a beautiful array of pink bell shaped flowers with a white shaping on the inside of them they are about 2 feet tall. I cant seem to figure out what they are.
view the full question and answer

Tree with orange flower blooming in August in West Virginia
August 28, 2008 - There is a tree with an orange flower in West Virginia. The orange is at the top of the tree and it blooms in August. I've searched your sight but cannot find it. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 06, 2009 - Could you please identify a plant with a scalloped elephant ear type leaf, wooden base with oval areas where old large wooden roots from above the ground have fallen off.
view the full question and answer

Identification of a mushroom in England
June 02, 2011 - I have a fungi I cannot recognize. It has a whitish soft pithy stem about 2/3 mm wide and approximately 6-10cm long. It has no leaves just a white flower/seed case on the top of the stem. This head is...
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