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CORDIA superba

Image of Cordia superba

Luis Bacher

Family

Boraginaceae

Botanical Name

CORDIA superba

Plant Common Name

Anacahuita, Brazilian Cordia

General Description

A very pretty flowering evergreen tree, the anacahuita or Brazilian cordia produces bright white flowers that contrast with its deep green foliage. When mature it stays small and develops a pleasing rounded canopy. This rainforest native of eastern Brazil may be easily confused with the more cold-hardy Texas olive (Cordia boissieri), which has similar white flowers with a few exceptions; Brazilian cordia's flowers are pure white and do not have brownish-yellow throats. After pollination by insects, small cherry-sized fruits appear. They have dirty ivory skins with a sticky texture.

The glossy deep green leaves of Brazilian cordia are long, elliptical and stiff. Depressed veins make each leaf look quilted. Tiny teeth or notches may appear on the leaf edges. Potentially blooming anytime of year, the snow white flowers are most prolific from late spring to early fall when temperatures are warmest. They are displayed in loose clusters on the branch tips. Each blossom is funnel-shaped with five crinkled lobes. The throat is white to palest yellow.

Grow the tropical Brazilian cordia in full sun to partial shade and fertile sandy soil with good drainage. This tree is heat and drought tolerant but needs summer moisture to perform best. It also prospers in oppressive humidity. Use it as a small specimen tree for the landscape or street side. The fruits attract hungry songbirds.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    10'-20' / 3.0m - 6.1m

  • Width

    10'-20' / 3.0m - 6.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Shade Trees, Street Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No