Guayacan

GuayacanSoap-bush

Guaiacum angustifolium Engelm

Whole plant

Family : Zygophyllaceae

Longevity : Perennial

Origin : Native

Season : Cool

Guayacan has a dense canopy with short lateral branches. It is an evergreen shrub which varies in height from two feet to eight feet. Guayacan is native to the Southern Plains and Edwards Plateau. It flowers between March and April. The violet or purple flowers have 5 petals and are 1/3 to 3/4 inch in diameter. The leaves are small with four to eight pairs of leaflets, each about 2/3 inch long. The leaves tend to fold up about half way during the heat of the day. Foragers of this shrub include sheep, goats, and white-tailed deer, and bees use the flowers as a source of honey. It has the hardest wood in the country which can be used for fence posts, tool handles, and as barbecue wood. The bark of the root has an ingredient used for making soap. The root extracts can be used to treat rheumatism and venereal disease. This is a drought tolerant plant which can be used as a hedge, in landscape, as an ornamental shrub, in a rock garden or in xeriscapes.

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