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Info Sheet PDF
Texas Ebony

Ebenopsis ebano (Pithecellobium flexicaule)

Mature Height*: 

15-25 ft

Mature Width*: 

10-20 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone Range:

8 to 11

Hardy to: 


Water Requirements: 

Moderate Water, Drought Tolerant

Shade Requirements:

Partial Shade

Native to:

South Texas through the Chihuahuan Mexican desert

Origin and Adaptability:

Native to the warm climates of Northeastern Mexico and Rio Grande Plains in South Texas, Ebenopsis ebano, commonly known as Texas Ebony, demonstrates exceptional adaptability to various environments. Thriving in well-drained soils, this evergreen tree provides landscape architects with a robust and versatile design element. Recognized for its resilience and adaptability, the Texas Ebony is an excellent choice for landscapes in arid conditions, particularly the Southwest.

Architectural Form and Foliage:

The Texas Ebony is celebrated for its elegant architectural form, featuring dense, dark green foliage that forms a compact, symmetrical canopy. This unique form provides designers with an aesthetically captivating canvas. Whether used as a shade tree in modern designs, as an anchor in southwestern-themed gardens, or as part of a xeriscape backdrop, its foliage adds a touch of sophistication to outdoor spaces, enhancing the overall visual appeal with its distinctive growth habit.

Floral Display and Growth Speed:

While the Texas Ebony is not primarily known for its flowers, it occasionally produces small, fragrant blossoms that add to its overall charm. With a moderate growth rate, this species ensures a balanced combination of prompt establishment and long-term manageability for landscape designers, allowing for the creation of landscapes that evolve gracefully over time.

Light and Water Requirements:

Thriving under full sunlight, the Texas Ebony reaches its full potential when exposed to at least six hours of sunlight daily. Well-suited for arid environments, it is drought-tolerant once established, requiring minimal watering. This adaptability makes it an ideal choice for sustainable landscape designs where water conservation is a priority.

Wildlife Support and Biodiversity:

Indigenous to Texas and Mexico, the Texas Ebony may attract local pollinators, birds, and butterflies with its inconspicuous blossoms. While not a primary wildlife attractant, birds find shelter and nesting sites within the protective limbs of Texas Ebony. Its presence in the landscape contributes to the overall biodiversity of the ecosystem.

Edible Practices:

While not commonly consumed today, historically, some parts of the Texas Ebony were utilized by indigenous communities. The fruit pods are edible when young and green, and the seeds can be roasted and eaten. However, it's important to note that improper identification and preparation can be harmful. Consulting with experts is recommended before attempting any edible use.

Challenges and Considerations:

The Texas Ebony is generally low-maintenance but has thorns that require caution during planting and pruning. Its multi-trunked form may appear "brushy" in early years, but selective pruning can encourage a more structured shape. Deer and rabbit resistance add to its appeal for low-maintenance landscapes. It is known as a nitrogen-fixer that enriches the soil around it.

Integration into Landscape Designs:
With its unique form, adaptability, and moderate growth rate, the Texas Ebony seamlessly integrates into diverse landscape designs. Designers can use it to provide shade in contemporary gardens, introduce a focal point in southwestern landscapes, or as a key element in xeriscape designs, contributing to the overall aesthetic appeal of outdoor spaces.

Designing with Texas Ebony:

Landscape architects and designers can leverage Texas Ebony's characteristics to create visually striking and sustainable landscapes. Its sculptural form adds textural contrast, while its adaptability to dry conditions promotes water conservation. Whether planted individually as a statement piece or integrated into diverse plant palettes, Texas Ebony empowers the creation of dynamic and environmentally conscious outdoor spaces.

*Height and width estimated for growth in the Tucson, AZ area. True sizes may vary.

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