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

 Native Plant Database

Eysenhardtia texana


Texas kidneywood, Kidneywood, Bee-Brush, Vara dulce


Fabaceae (Pea Family)



Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood)
Lytle, Melody
Texas kidneywood is an unarmed, much-branched shrub, 3-10 ft. tall, with an open, airy structure. A many-branched shrub with an open crown and gland-dotted, aromatic, resinous leaves and flowers. Its 3-4 in. spikes of white flowers are fragrant, as are the deciduous, finely divided leaves. Leaves up to 3 1/2 inches long, consisting of a central axis and as many as 40 small leaflets, each about 1/4 inch long, pungent when crushed. Flowers white, small, with a delicate fragrance, arranged in spikes up to 4 1/2 inches long at the ends of branchlets, appearing intermittently from May to October. Fruit a pod about 3/8 inch long, often with a threadlike tip. Seed pods are somewhat persistent.

This tree and its relative, the more westerly E. orthocarpa, were once used in remedies for kidney and bladder ailments, hence the name.

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22 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Size Notes: 3-12
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct

Distribution

USA: TX
Native Distribution: S. TX, n. to Bell, San Saba, Crockett & Brewster Cos. & s. to Mex.
Native Habitat: Frequent in brushy vegetation in Rio Grande Plains, Central and West Texas. Well-drained sand, loam, clay, caliche, limestone. Dry, brushy hills & canyons

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Dry, rocky, calcareous soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: Kidneywood foliage has a pungent, citrusy smell. Bees flock to the ambrosial flowers, which bloom at intervals through the warm months. The Dogface butterfly also eats kidneywood as larval food. Can create a small tree with proper pruning. May temporarily lose leaves during a dry spell. Drought-tolerant.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Aromatic, Accent tree or shrub, Blooms ornamental, Fast growing, Showy
Use Wildlife: Flowers attract bees and butterflies
Use Food: It is very palatable and is readily grazed by white-tailed deer and goats.
Use Other: The wood has been used for dyes and is fluorescent in water.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Dogface butterfly
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Minimal

Last Update: 2010-12-27