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Common Name:

Texas Mountain Laurel

Scientific Name:

Sophora secundiflora

Family Name:

Leguminaceae (Fabaceae)

Description:

Texas Mountain Laurel is a large evergreen shrub or multi-stem small tree valued for its dark glossy green pinnately compound foliage and blue-purple spring flowers that smell like grape bubblegum. The plant is equally striking as a shrub or limbed up into a small tree to expose the exfoliating bark on older individuals. The bright red seeds of this species are highly poisonous.

Plant Habit or Use:

Large shrub, small tree

Exposure:

sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Blue-purple, blue, purplish pink

Blooming Period:

Spring

Fruit Characteristics:

Pods containing 1 to 4 marble size red poisonous seeds

Height:

8 ft to 12 ft

Width:

4 ft to 8 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Medium Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

10.00
Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

8, 9, 10

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Texas Mountain Laurel requires excellent drainage or root rots will develop. Genista caterpillars (Uresiphita reversalis) are serious defoliating insects. Use of Sophora secundiflora in USDA zone 7 is possible, but damage can be expected in severe winters.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.