OTHER COMMON NAMES: TEXAS KIDNEYWOOD, BEE BRUSH, VARA DULCE
BOTANIAL NAME: Eysenhardtia texana
PRONUNCIATION: eye-zen-HAR-dee-ah tex-AN-ah
FAMILY: Fabaceae (Legume Family)
TYPE: Deciduous Small Tree – Sun
HEIGHT: 8 - 15 feet
SPREAD: 6 - 8 feet
SPACING: 6 - 8 Feet
HABIT: Wonderfully fragrant white 3”-4” flower spikes; bloom April to November after rains. Shrubby, multiple-stemmed tree with fine-textured foliage and open growth. Leaves have a citrus smell when crushed.
CULTURE: Drought tolerant, but grows better with adequate moisture.
USES: Attracts bees and butterflies.
PROBLEMS: Freezes in harsh winters in the northern half of the state.
NATURAL HABITAT AND PREFERRED SITE: Common in the calcarious soils of central and west Texas. Prefers full sun or light shade. Likes the dry hills and canyons of central and southwestern Texas.
IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION: Irregularly shaped shrubby tree usually less than 8 feet tall growing in calcarious soils. Wonderfully fragrant when in flower and the foliage is tangerine scented when bruised.
FLOWERS AND FRUIT: Flowers are fragrant and white to pale yellow. The blooming period begins in the summer especially after rains. Sometimes the blooming begins in May and goes through late August or September. Fruit is a small legume ¼ to 5/8 inches long containing one seed.
BARK: Stems are very smooth and become heavier textured with age.
FOLIAGE: Leaves are compound with tiny leaflets, delicate and have an odor when crushed.
CULTURE: Kidneywood is fairly easy to grow in most soils as long as well drained. Drought tolerant but grows better with adequate moisture. Needs very little fertilizer.
PROBLEMS: Freeze damage from very harsh winters in the northern part of the state. Usually freezes to the ground only and returns the following spring.
PROPAGATION: Kidneywood is easily grown from fresh untreated seed and is easily rooted from softwood or hardwood cuttings taken in the summer or early fall.
INSIGHT: Dyes have been made from the wood and the wood is fluorescent in water. A beautiful and fragrant little tree that should be used more. It attracts bees and butterflies.