Guaiacum angustifolium Engelm.
Texas Lignum-vitae, Soapbush, Guayacan
Zygophyllaceae (Creosote-Bush Family)
Synonym(s): Porlieria angustifolia
USDA Symbol: GUAN
A leafy, compact evergreen, guayacan rarely grows higher than 6 feet, though under favorable conditions it may grow more than twice that high. It is often darker than surrounding shrubs, due to the stems being covered with dark green leaves. Leaves are pinnately compound, with 4-8 pairs of small, leathery leaflets. Flowers, which have 5 petals, are violet to purple, 1 inch across, with prominent yellow anthers. The blossom is followed by small, heart-shaped pods that burst open at maturity, exposing 2 scarlet-red, shiny seeds.
The bark of the roots is sometimes used as soap for washing woolen goods, as it does not fade colors. Guayacan is also a good honeybee plant. It does best at elevations below 4,000 feet.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Pinnate
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall, often much shorter.
Flower: Flower 1 inch.
Fruit: Orange, 1 inch across.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Blue , Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
Bloom Notes: Rarely white.
Native Distribution: Chaparral & brush country, Prairie/Plains/Meadows/Pastures/Savannas
Native Habitat: Chaparral & brush country, Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannas
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type
BenefitUse Ornamental: Showy, Attractive, Blooms ornamental, Grows in clumps, Aromatic, Long-living, Fruits ornamental
Use Wildlife: Nectar-bees, Nectar-insects, Nesting site, Browse, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Larval Host: Gray hairstreak butterfly, Lyside hairstreak butterfly.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
Gray Hairstreak |
Learn more at BAMONA
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-MLE-12 Collected 2005-11-12 in Terrell County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Guaiacum angustifolium in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Guaiacum angustifolium in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Guaiacum angustifolium
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-13
Research By: TWC Staff