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Tree Of The Month: Texas Ebony

Tree of the Month! #TexasEbony

Scientific Specification: Ebenopsis ebano

Common: Texas ebony, ebony blackhead, ape’s earring

Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

Origin: Far south Texas (southern tip), south into old Mexico

Form & Character: Stiff, don’t get too close, stately, green + desert = prime for urban areas. Very briefly deciduous in late spring before flowering if grown in a no irrigation area, otherwise evergreen.

Texas Ebony
Tree of the Month: Texas Ebony

Size/Growth Habit: Woody, evergreen, perennial tree, slow growth rate. It will eventually reach a height of 40 feet and spread with multiple trunks; bark smooth when young to rough and fissured with age. Young branches extend in a characteristic zig-zag pattern. This is not a little tree, it just grows slow is all.

Foliage/Texture: Leaf pairs opposite of each other on either side of the branch. Compound leaf with 3 to 5 pairs of oblong to obovate, small leaflets, medium green, hidden stipular spines to 1/2 inch long set under foliage; medium texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Small, musty fragrant, cream-colored flowers in dense, slender, terminal spikes to 1.5 inches long, flowers strongly attract bees. Fruit are an immense dark brown pods 6 to 12 inches long, sometimes curved or contorted, segmented, tardily dehiscent.

Comments: Texas ebony is a slow-growing and beautifully spreading tree that needs an appropriately large landscape space in which to slowly and gracefully mature. Sadly though, Texas ebony is often mis-cast in the landscape as a small feature. Beware of the stipular spines at the base of the leaves that can draw blood! Being well armed, Texas ebony can be vicious to work with. Trained and knowledgeable folks (ISA Certified Arborists) will wear proper attire and protective equipment, ie., gloves, long sleeve shirts and pants, and protective eye wear when working with these beautiful trees.

Learn more from Chris A. Martin, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, Arizona State University

Need to protect yourself from thorns while working in your yard? Check out the ThornArmor gloves by HexArmor


Outdoor Living Homeowner Handbook To Do | #TexasEbony

PODCAST‘s Justin Rohner discusses the benefits of the Texas Ebony tree.  A slow growing, dense evergreen tree that thrives in desert landscapes.  The ‘anchor trees’ of a desert landscape.  What to learn before you prune deciduous and citrus trees in the winter months.  Plus learn about cocktail trees and grafting techniques to potentially create a desired fruit variety.

Podcast Archive With Expanded Content and Resources


Certified Arborist Richard Adkins discusses the Tree Of The Month: The Texas Ebony. Native to the Chihuahuan desert, a thorny drought tolerant tree that maintains its dark green color all year. That’s just for starters. Plus careful attention to detail on pruning winter deciduous trees including Richard’s “3 cut method”.  Plus, could you plant and grow your own Christmas tree?

Podcast Archive With Expanded Content and Resources



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