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Products > Cordia boissieri
 
Cordia boissieri - Texas Wild Olive
   
Image of Cordia boissieri
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Boraginaceae (Borages)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Height: 15-25 feet
Width: 15-25 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Cordia boissieri (Texas Wild Olive) - A semi-evergreen large shrub or trained up as a small tree with attractive gray bark and a rounded shape to 15 to 25 feet tall by as wide. It has thick 5-inch-long ovate leaves that are at first a soft lightly fuzzy texture but harden with age and are gray green above and paler below. The flowers, in peak bloom spring into summer but often present nearly year-round, are clusters of 2-inch-wide funnel-shaped white flowers with yellow throats and petals that have a crepe paper texture. These are followed by yellow-green fruit that slightly resemble an olive.

Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil with occasional to very little water. Evergreen in mild years and shortly deciduous with frost and with only light tip damage in short duration temperatures down to the mid-20sF, hard wood hardy to around 18F and root hardy even a bit lower - it is said that it can be treated more as a perennial in USDA zone 8b. For us in Santa Barbara this is an attractive small tree with very attractive flowers, foliage and bark. It is drought tolerant and handles windy and coastal conditions. It is a bit too messy for a patio or near the pool but sensational elsewhere in the garden. Birds and animals eat the fruit and the flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Though the fruit are sweet, they are considered slightly toxic to humans when fresh. Indigenous people in its native habitat make jellies and dyes from the fruit and use the wood for firewood and light carpentry.

Cordia boissieri has a native range that extends from Rio Grande valley of southern Texas south to San Luis Potosi in Mexico. The name for the genus honors the 16th century German botanists Euricius Cordus and his son Valerius Cordus and the specific epithet is named for the 19th century Swiss botanist Pierre-Edmond Boissier. The common name Texas Olive comes from the shape and size of its fruit. Other common names include Anacahuita, Mexican Olive, White Geiger and White Cordia. It is the official flower of the state of Nuevo Len in Mexico. This plant is commonly seen in Arizona and Texas but older plants grace gardens in Santa Barbara and there is a beautiful specimen on the Pitzer College campus in Claremont as well. Some note this tree not suitable to coastal gardens, but our garden plant is a healthy specimen that is rarely been out of flower and the largest plant we know of is an old small tree in the garden of a local Santa Barbara stone mason, the late Ozzie DaRoss, so we think it certainly a good choice for our coastal climate. We have grown this beautiful small tree since 2013 and also grow the Chilean species a href="plantdisplay.asp?plant_id=4062" target="_blank">Cordia decandra. 

This information about Cordia boissieri displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.