Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Ehretia anacua (Anacua)
Smith, R.W.

Ehretia anacua

Ehretia anacua (Terán & Berl.) I.M. Johnst.

Anacua, Sugarberry Anacua, Anaqua, Anacahuita, Knockaway, Knackaway, Sandpaper Tree, Manzanita, Manzanillo, Tlalahuacate

Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

Synonym(s): Ehretia elliptica


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The sub-tropical knockaway or anacua is a 20-50 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

47 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 50 feet tall. Trunk up to about 2 feet in diameter.
Leaf: Dark Green, rough like sandpaper.
Fruit: Edible, yellow to red two-seeded berries.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr


Native Distribution: C. & s. TX, south to Chiapas in southern Mexico
Native Habitat: Thickets, Open woodlands, Chaparral & brush country, Fence rows

Growing Conditions

Water 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.


Use 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
Attracts: Birds
Larval Host: The exclusive host for larvae and adults of the Anacua Tortoise Beetle (Coptocycla texana).
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High


Description: 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

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Tree for sound block near Houston
April 24, 2010
I live in Pearland, just south of Houston and am looking for a tree that I can plant along my fenceline between my neighbor and me that will block noise. We have a pool and entertain a lot, but they a...
view the full question and answer

Edible plants native to Austin, TX
August 05, 2009
Hello, I am a chef from Buenos Aires Argentina visiting Austin, Texas and would like to learn about native, edible plants in the region. Please let me know if there are any native, edible plants...
view the full question and answer

From the National Organizations Directory

According 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, c/o Wimberley Birding Society - 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

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-PS-2 Collected 2006-06-06 in Guadalupe County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-05-29
Research By: TWC Staff, TMH

Go back