Ehretia anacua (Terán & Berl.) I.M. Johnst.
Anacua, Sugarberry Anacua, Anaqua, Knockaway, Sandpaper tree
Boraginaceae (Borage Family)
Synonym(s): Ehretia elliptica
USDA Symbol: ehan
The sub-tropical knockaway or anacua is a 20-45 ft., evergreen or partly deciduous northward tree, often with suckers or multiple trunks. Leaves evergreen, some falling seasonally, up to 4 1/2 inches long, mostly smaller, ovate or narrower, upper surface rough, margins smooth, tip pointed. Flowers in clusters at the ends of the branchlets, white, fragrant. Fruit fleshy, spherical, up to 5/16 inch in diameter, orange to dark yellow, edible. Older trees have reddish, flaking bark and gnarled, stocky appearance.
A popular ornamental in Texas, this species is hardy in dry areas and north to central Texas, where the plants may die back in cold winters. Wildlife consume the fruit, and the wood has served for fenceposts and tool handles. The name Anacua is from Anacahuite, a Mexican name for this and related species. That word is from two others of the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs meaning paper (amatl) and tree (cuahuitl), perhaps referring to the scaly peeling bark. The English name Knockaway is a corruption from the same source.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: 20-45
Leaf: Dark Green, rough like sandpaper.
Fruit: Edible, yellow to red two-seeded berries
Size Class: 36-72 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr
Native Distribution: C. & s. TX & e. Mex.
Native Habitat: Thickets, Open woodlands, Chaparral & brush country, Fence rows
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained, alkaline soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay.
Conditions Comments: An attractive, subtropical tree, if planted as far north as Dallas it will freeze back in cold winters, and rarely develop flowers. It blooms from spring through summer with white, fragrant flowers that cover the tree in dense clusters. Bright edible orange fruits then ripen from April to June. Needs lots of water to get established, but then becomes quite drought-tolerant. Not a true evergreen – it replaces its leaves in early spring. Drought and disease tolerant. Multiple stems later fuse together to form an interesting fluted trunk with rough bark.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Attractive, Aromatic, Showy, Blooms ornamental. Deep shade; spring blooms look like the tree is covered with snow; unusual mature trunks look like several corded trunks have been bound together.
Use Wildlife: Blossoms attract honeybees. Fruits attract numerous birds and mammals. Nectar-bees, Nectar-insects, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals
Use Food: Yellowish orange fruit are sweet and good for jams.
Use Other: Quite popular as an indoor bonsai. Ehretia anacua, a recent addition to bonsai, is more resistant to heat and draught.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Larval Host: The exclusive host for larvae and adults of the Anacua Tortoise Beetle (Coptocycla texana).
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High
PropagationDescription: Germinates readily from fresh seed, however germination rates are more uniform if the seed has been stratified. Will root from juvenile wood, suckers or softwood cuttings.
Seed Collection: Gather seeds in late summer when fruit has turned orange or reddish. Pulp may be removed or dried on seeds. Store dried seeds in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Stratify in moist sand for 30 days at 41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
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From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge - Wimberley, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0575 Collected Mar 20, 1990 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-PS-2 Collected 2006-06-06 in Guadalupe County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 307 - Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest: Including recipes, harmful plants, natural dyes, and textile fibers: A Practical Guide (1999) Tull, D.
Bibref 1260 - Invertebrates of Central Texas Wetlands (2005) Taber, Stephen Welton and Scott B. Fleenor
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
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
Bibref 297 - Trees of Central Texas (1984) Vines, Robert A.
Bibref 36 - Useful wild plants of Texas, the southeastern and southwestern United States, the southern plains, and northern Mexico (1995) S. Cheatham; M. C. Johnston; L. Marshall
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Ehretia anacua in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ehretia anacua in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ehretia anacua
MetadataRecord Modified: 2014-06-27
Research By: TWC Staff, TMH