Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Cordia boissieri

Mexican olive, Texas wild olive, Anacahuita, Anacahuite

Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

Cordia boissieri (Mexican olive)
Page, Lee

Locally known as Mexican olive or Anacahuita, Cordia boissieri is an ornamental shrub or tree to 30 ft, with large, soft, dark leaves and large, showy, trumpet-shaped white flowers with yellow throats that are sometimes described as looking like crepe paper or chiffon. Its sinuous trunk becomes picturesque as it ages. It is native no farther north than south Texas because it cant tolerate cold winters, but it has been successfully tried as far north as Austin, where cold winters are likely to cause some die-back. Within its natural range, it is drought-tolerant enough that it is a common highway planting. Birds, deer, and cattle enjoy the sweet 2-3 cm long fruit and butterflies frequent the blooms.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub , Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen , Semi-evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Ovate
Leaf Pubescence: Tomentose , Scabrous
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Acute , Obtuse
Leaf Base: Cordate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Inflorescence: Cyme , Corymb
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: 12-24 feet
Leaf: gray-green
Flower: Flowers 2 inches wide. Petals white.
Fruit: Purple or reddish brown 2-3 cm
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec
Bloom Notes: Color white with a yellow throat. Blooms year-round but most profusely from late spring to early summer.


Native Distribution: Rio Grande valley of Texas south to San Luis Potosi in Mexico
Native Habitat: Brushland (Mattoral), Chaparral, Thickets, Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Savannahs, Hillsides, Slopes, Pastures, Roadsides

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained caliche, sand, sandy loam, medium loam, clay loam, clay, or gravel soils
Conditions Comments: Prefers well-drained soil and full sun. Requires mild winters. Regular watering necessary to establish it, but once established within its natural range, it can be left on its own, making it a popular highway planting in the Valley.


Use Ornamental: Showy, Long-blooming, Fast growing, Blooms ornamental
Use Wildlife: Nectar-insects, Fruit-mammals, Fruit-birds. Excessive consumption of fruit may cause tipsiness in deer and cattle.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: No

Last Update: 2016-01-09