Ungnadia speciosa

Secondary Names:
Mexican buckeye

Leaf Type: Deciduous
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

A many-trunked shrub or small tree up to 20 feet tall and trunks up to 10" in diameter, forming an irregular crown.

Range/Site Description:

Limestone soils in Central and West Texas, especially moist canyons, seeps, or rocky bluffs.


Once-compound, alternate, 9" to 12" long, with 5 to 9 leaflets, each 3" to 5" long and 1.5" to 2" wide, ovate or lanceolate, bluntly-toothed along the margin, dark green and glossy on top, paler below, turning yellow in fall.


Just before the leaves in spring, a short cluster of pink flowers, each about 1" across.


An odd, woody capsule, about 2" across, shaped like a fig, three-lobed, light brown, enclosing one to three round, smooth seeds.


Light brown or gray, smooth at first, but developing thin scales and shallow fissures on larger trunks.


The flowers produce an excellent honey; also sold in native plant nurseries for its landscape value.

Similar Species:

Can be mistaken for a pale-flowered redbud (Cercis spp.) at a distance; leaves and branches of Hercules'-club (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) have sharp prickles; leaves of common elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis) are opposite on the twigs.

Interesting Facts:

The hard, round seeds were fashioned by children in rural areas into makeshift marbles.

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