in Tucson, Phoenix,
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Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Ungnadia speciosa: Mexican Buckeye

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Form: Rounded shrub, or with pruning, tree.
Leaf retention: Deciduous.
Growth rate: Slow first year, increasing with age, dependent on water and sun.
Mature Size: Typically 10-15' high and wide. Up to 30' in favorable locations.
Flowers: Rose-purple to pink, fragrant.
Bloom: Late winter to late spring, before or during leaf-out. Flowers for entire tree are in bloom for only one or two weeks.
Fruit: Three chambered seed pod containing shiny, sweet but poisonous, dark round seeds, persisting on tree for most of the year.
Leaves: Green, oval to lance-shaped leaflets, turning yellow in fall, poisonous. Provides dense shade.
Stems: No thorns, multi-trunked, smooth, mottled, gray-brown bark.
Roots: Deep taproot.
Wildlife: Attracts bees, butterflies, birds. Larval host to some butterfly species.
Toxic / Danger: Sweet, poisonous seeds. Leaves poisonous to livestock but seldom browsed. Other parts of plant possibly poisonous.
Origin: New Mexico, Texas, Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 7-11.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to part shade.
Water after becoming established: Once or twice a month.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low in organic content, pH 6.1-8.5 (slightly acidic to alkaline).
Prune: After flowering, to develop tree form or maintain rounded shape.
Litter: Flowers and seeds.
Propagation: Scarified seed, soaked, and grown in moist, very warm soil.
Uses: Ornamental, xeric garden.

A member of the Soapberry family; not a true Buckeye. The seed pods resemble those of the Buckeye tree, giving the plant its common name.

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Ungnadia speciosa: Mexican Buckeye - rose colored flower

Ungnadia speciosa: Mexican Buckeye - pink flowers

Ungnadia speciosa: Mexican Buckeye - seed pods

Ungnadia speciosa: Mexican Buckeye - leaves

Ungnadia speciosa: Mexican Buckeye - trunk

Ungnadia speciosa: Mexican Buckeye