Marcus, Joseph A.
Leucophyllum frutescens (Berl.) I.M. Johnston
Cenizo, Purple sage, Texas ranger, Texas barometer bush, Texas silverleaf, Texas sage
Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)
A gray shrub
with leaves densely covered with stellate,
silvery hairs and bright pink-lavender, bilaterally symmetrical flowers borne singly in crowded leaf axils. Typically a compact shrub,
2-5 ft. tall, Texas barometer-bush or cenizo occasionally reaches 8 ft. in height, and 4-6 ft. in width. Leaves silvery gray to greenish, soft to the touch, up to 1 1/4 inches long but mostly 1 inch or less, tapering more gradually to the base than to the rounded tip, margins smooth. Flowers violet to purple, sometimes pink, nearly bell shaped, and up to 1 inch in length and width, appearing intermittently from spring to fall. Fruit
a small capsule.
As one travels east across southern Texas near the Mexican border, the olive green of Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata
) gives way to the gray of this species, with its display of bright pink-lavender flowers. These burst into bloom for only a few days at a time, in the summer and fall, depending on rainfall. The ashy appearance of the leaves, also described as silvery, white, or gray, is due to the millions of tiny hairs covering them. A grouping of several individuals makes a good screen or hedge. There are many nice color selections and cultivars. This and other Leucophyllum
species are popular water-conserving ornamentals in the Southwest.
Image Gallery: 43 photo(s) available
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec
Bloom Notes: Several months of periodic flowering. Often flowers after a few summer showers, which is why one of its common names is barometer bush.
TX Native Distribution:
In TX, Rio Grande Plain, s. Trans-Pecos, & Edwards Plateau, south to Nuevo Leon in Mexico Native Habitat:
Ditches, Ravines, Depressions, Hillsides, Slopes USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry Cold Tolerant:
Rocky, well-drained soils. Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type Conditions Comments:
According to legend, cenizo tends to bloom in conjunction with rainfall. Cenizo is easy to grow so long as it has good drainage. Though this species is the most irrigation-tolerant of the genus,
it is susceptible to cotton root rot if soil does not have good drainage and remains moist. Humidity and high night temperatures are lethal. Cenizos should not be fertilized or over-watered. Drought- and heat-tolerant. During very cold winters, may lose a few leaves.
A hedgeable evergreen shrub
with attractive foliage and long-lasting, ornamental blooms. Use Wildlife:
Nectar-insects, Nesting site, Cover. Conspicuous Flowers:
Butterflies Larval Host:
Theona Checkerspot, Calleta silkmoth Deer Resistant:
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for: