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ARBUTUS xalapensis

Image of Arbutus xalapensis

David L. Morgan

Family

Ericaceae

Botanical Name

ARBUTUS xalapensis

Plant Common Name

Lady's Leg, Manzanita, Texas Madrone

General Description

This picturesque small tree is grown for its early blooms, colorful bark and berries, and handsome evergreen foliage. It is native to rocky slopes and ledges from southern Texas and New Mexico to Guatemala.

The leathery oval leaves of Texas madrone are bluish- to olive-green with paler undersides. Erect clusters of small, urn-shaped, creamy-white to pinkish flowers open at the branch tips from late winter to early spring. Bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators visit the blooms. Round, warty berries develop in spring and summer, ripening to red in autumn. The fruits are a favorite of birds. The trunk and older branches of Texas madrone develop mottled, multi-colored bark as patches of outer bark flake away. Bark colors include gray, cream, red-brown, orange, pink and tan.

Often fussy in cultivation, Texas madrone requires full to partial sun and slightly acidic to moderately alkaline soil. Soil must be well-drained but not overly dry. It makes a lovely small specimen tree for gardens and naturalistic plantings in warm arid regions of the western United States. It is listed as endangered in Texas.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 3

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 11

  • Plant Type

    Broadleaf Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    12'-30' / 3.7m - 9.1m

  • Width

    12'-40' / 3.7m - 12.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Southwestern United States, Texas, Mexico, Central America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Orange

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Blue Green, Olive

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green, Olive

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Blue Green, Olive

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Blue Green, Olive

  • Bark Color

    Red, Orange, Rose, Peach, Burgundy, Tan, Sandy Brown, Sienna, Ivory, Gray

  • Bark Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

    Edible, Feature Plant

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds, Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    No