Cordia boissieri A. DC.
Mexican Olive, Texas Wild Olive, Anacahuita, Anacahuite
Boraginaceae (Borage Family)
USDA Symbol: COBO2
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 can't 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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: 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: Up to about 30 feet tall.
Flower: Flowers 2 inches wide. Petals white.
Fruit: Purple or reddish brown 2-3 cm
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow
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, Savannas, Hillsides, Slopes, Pastures, Roadsides
Growing ConditionsWater 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.
BenefitUse 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
PropagationPropagation 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.
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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:
Naval Air Station Kingsville - Kingsville, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-1046 Collected 2007-06-14 in Starr County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
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
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Cordia boissieri in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cordia boissieri in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cordia boissieri
MetadataRecord Modified: 2017-10-25
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG