Plant Profile: Cordia boissieri - Texas Wild olive

Plant Profile: Texas Wild Olive

I’m relatively new to San Antonio, and even though I moved here from Austin, the climate and soil is different enough to introduce me to a whole host of plants that I had not encountered before. Being that San Antonio is more southern than Austin, it shares more climatic conditions with northern Mexico. As a result many plants that do well in Mexico do well here in San Antonio. One in particular that I have fallen in love with is Cordia boissieri.

Cordia boissieri, commonly known as Anachuita, Mexican Olive, or Wild Olive, is a woody plant native to northeastern Mexico and South Texas. Usually grown as a large shrub or small tree, the Texas Wild Olive has beautiful, dense, dark green foliage with a velvety texture. From spring through fall it blooms fragrant clusters of white flowers that attract a wide range of pollinators. Those flowers give way to olive-like fruits that also serve as a food source for birds and other wildlife. 

It is normally found growing wild along stream beds and slopes and is relatively pest free. Although its fruits resemble olives, Wild Olive is not a member of the olive family and instead belongs to Boraginaceae, the Borage family. It will grow in San Antonio, and occasionally as far north as Austin.

Due to cold tolerance, it does not survive any further north than Austin without extra care as it can incur damage in extreme cold and frost conditions. As a result it is best to plant it where it is protected from winter winds and frost damage. It also prefers full sun, so avoid planting beneath dense canopies. If protected, it will stay evergreen. However, in December we experienced temperatures in the low twenties and the tops of many of the Wild Olive plants were damaged.

You won’t find this plant in a box store, so check with your local independent nursery or landscaper for availability.


Texas Wild Olive specimen growing at
Palo Alto College

Growth Habit: Large shrub or small tree growing 15-25 feet. Evergreen (semi-evergreen in severe cold). Flowers profusely spring through fall, giving way to olive-like fruit.

Light: Full Sun

Tolerance: Drough tolerant, cold tolerant to 28-30 degrees

Uses: Wildlife habitat, specimen, ornamental. Attracts birds, butterflies. Considered edible, but will cause dizziness and upset in excess. Used in folk medicine for treating coughs.

Please follow and like us:

Related posts

Using Barrier Plants to Protect Your Edible Garden

Using Barrier Plants to Protect Your Edible Garden

There’s nothing more frustrating then having a lush and growing edible garden, only to walk out and find it being eaten away by pests! Especially for organic, critter loving gardener who don’t want to harm any beneficial insects or pollinators just to get rid of a few unwanted pests....

Read More

Give a Reply

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow by Email