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CALIBANUS hookeri

Image of Calibanus hookeri

James Burghardt

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

CALIBANUS hookeri

Plant Common Name

Mexican Boulder

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

With skin-cutting, thread-like leaves that protrude from a rounded stump called a caudex, Mexican boulder also produces a pink flower spike. A evergreen succulent that resembles a tuft of wiregrass, it is native to north central Mexico.

The long, thing leaf blades are glossy and rigid even though they arch or flop as they lengthen. Colored blue-green to shades of gray, these leaves arise in tufts all over the rounded, fattended stem called a caudex, which looks like a rock. Plants are dioecious, being either male or female in gender. The short flower spikes with pink flowers occur in summer's heat, and the female will yield small pinkish brown fruits. Extreme drought or unseasonable cold can result in some leaf dieback, often the dead brown leaves persist in the mass of hair-like foliage.

Grow Mexican boulder in coarse, well-draining soils in full sun, ideally protected from wet snow or soil in winter. It appreciates moisture in the heat of summer, but it is remarkable drought tolerant as it stores moisture in the swollen caudex. Use it as an impressive container specimen or as an accent in a warm rockery or foundation planting. Although not spiny, the leaves can yield a paper-cut on fingers if grabbed or stroked.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 13

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    2'-5' / 0.6m - 1.5m

  • Width

    3'-6' / 0.9m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer

  • Native To

    Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Very Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Pink

  • Fruit Color

    Pink, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Light Green, Gray Green, Gray

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No