Featured Plant

Havardia pallens  Tenaza, (Havardia pallens), is a small tree native to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas and along the Texas coast south of Corpus Christi. It's common name is from the Spanish (tenazas) for pincers or pliars, a reference to the trees small, but sharp, paired spines. Tenaza grows from 10-20 feet tall and occasionally to 30 feet. The small delicate fern-like leaves provide light shade for perennials or other low growing plants. Tenaza bursts into flower often following rains during the warm parts of the growing season.The white puff ball flowers are delightfully fragrant and can nearly cover the plant making it seem to glow from a distance, particularly when back lit by the sun. Tenaza can tolerate high heat and drought so it makes a great small tree for a water conserving landscapes. It is clearly winter hardy to at least USDA. zone 9 and some reports list it as hardy to 15 degrees making it suitable for zone 8b gardens as well. In my garden in Arizona I had a tenaza planted next to stairs going down a garden path. One of the highlights of that garden was coming out on a May morning to find the tenaza had exploded into its fluffy fragrant bloom. It was a delight for both sight and smell!