Texas-Mountain-Laurel is a small North American native evergreen, growing 15 to 25 feet tall with a 10-foot-spread but is capable of reaching up to 50 feet Tallinn its native habitat (Fig. 1). It has a narrow upright silhouette and dense foliage which lends itself well to being pruned into a tree form. Texas-Mountain-Laurel can be used as a specimen, patio, or street tree and is ideal for use as a screen, bank cover, or an espalier.The two-inch-long, dark green leaves are glossy, thick,and leathery. In spring, Texas-Mountain-Laurel is a beautiful sight as it displays its dense, two to five-inch-long, pendulous clusters of purple/blue, extremely fragrant flowers. Every so often, a white-flowered form can be found. The hairy seedpods which follow are eight inches long and ripen to reveal the inner,bright red seeds. These seeds are quite decorative and have been used to make necklaces but they are also poisonous. The fissured bark is dark gray to black.
Scientific name: Sophora secundiflora
Pronunciation: sah-FOR-uh seck-un-dih-FLOR-uh
Common name(s): Texas-Mountain-Laurel,Mescal bean Family: Leguminosae USDA hardiness zones: 7B through 10A (Fig. 2)Origin: native to North America
Uses: Bonsai; container or above-ground planter;hedge; large parking lot islands (> 200 square feet in size); wide tree lawns (>6 feet wide); medium-sized parking lot islands (100-200 square feet in size);medium-sized tree lawns (4-6 feet wide);recommended for buffer strips around parking lots or for median strip plantings in the highway; near a deck or patio; reclamation plant; screen; small parking lot islands (< 100 square feet in size); narrow tree lawns(3-4 feet wide); specimen; sidewalk cutout (tree pit);residential street tree; no proven urban tolerance
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the tree
Height: 15 to 20 feet Spread: 10 to 12 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical canopy with a regular (or smooth) outline, and individuals have more or less identical crown forms.
Usually found as a multi-trunk ed small tree,Texas-Mountain-Laurel can be trained to a single trunk in the nursery. Single-trunked nursery stock would make nice street trees for planting in small soil spaces,and where overhead space is limited by wires or other structures. Plant a row of Texas-Mountain-Laurel on15 or 20 foot centers to form a nice canopy over a walk, or locate it close to a patio or deck. The bark on multi-trunked specimens shows off nicely when lit up at night from beneath the canopy. Texas-Mountain-Laurel should be grown in full sun or partial shade on well-drained soil. This tough plant will tolerate hot, windy conditions and alkaline or wet soils but not compacted soil. Young trees may benefit from afternoon shading from the intense summer sun until they become established. Propagation is by seed, cuttings, layering, or grafting. Trees on well-drained soils reportedly have a deep root system and will transplant poorly from the wild.