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Form/habitat

Form/flower

Form/fruit

Texas Mountain Laurel, Mescal Bean, Frigolito, Frijollito, Frijolillo, Coral Bean, Big-drunk Bean, Colorin
Sophora secundiflora

Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

Texas mountain laurel grows in limestone soils in Central and Southwest Texas and to 5000 feet in the Chisos and Davis Mountains. This slow growing evergreen may be grown as a medium to large shrub or trained to a single or multi-trunk tree. The pinnate leaves with their lustrous, leathery upper surface provide year long beauty, enhanced in mid-spring by the densely-flowered racemes of lavender or violet pea flowers having the scent of grape Kool Aid. The black, somewhat constricted seedpods contain red to red-orange seeds which are sometimes used in jewelry. Both seeds and flowers are quite poisonous and contain narcotic properties. In zones colder than Zone 8, flowering is not reliable because of late freezes which damage the buds. Texas mountain laurel is difficult to successfully transplant from the wild. Fortunately it is being produced by a number of growers and is fairly available. Good drainage is a must, as is frequent monitoring for "the worm", the Genista moth larvae which can decimate the foliage in a few days, and is its primary pest. Yellow dye was once made from the sapwood.

Plant Habit or Use: large shrub
small tree
medium tree

Exposure: sun
partial sun

Flower Color: purple, lavender, violet, rarely white

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: bean pod

Height: 15 to 35 feet

Width: 10 feet

Plant Character: evergreen

Heat Tolerance: high

Water Requirements: low

Soil Requirements: neutral
alkaline

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8

Additional Comments:



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