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Native Plant Database

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Cordia boissieri (Mexican olive)
Cox, Paul

Cordia boissieri

Cordia boissieri A. DC.

Mexican olive, Anacahuita, Texas wild olive, Anacahuite

Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: COBO2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub , Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen , Semi-evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Ovate
Leaf Pubescence: Scabrous , Tomentose
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Acute , Obtuse
Leaf Base: Cordate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Inflorescence: Corymb , Cyme
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.

Distribution

USA: TX
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: Dry , Moist
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.

Benefit

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

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds , Semi-hardwood Cuttings , Softwood Cuttings
Description: Plant seed fresh or double-stratify. Take softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings in summer.
Seed Collection: Collect seed when it becomes muted yellow-white or pale brown with interior seed plump and hard. Clean and air dry before storage in cool, dry location.
Seed Treatment: Varies with locale and climate.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Requires much water to get it established but once established it is drought-tolerant.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

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From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Far South Wholesale Nursery - Austin, TX

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1046 Collected 2007-06-14 in Starr County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Bibliography

Bibref 481 - How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest: Revised and Updated Edition (2001) Nokes, J.
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 293 - Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Cordia boissieri in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cordia boissieri in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cordia boissieri

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2009-11-17
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG

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