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Frijolillo Sophora secundiflora

Phonetic Spelling
sah-FOR-uh seck-un-dih-FLOR-uh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Sophora secundiflora, or Mescal Bean, is a flowering, multi-trunked, evergreen tree or shrub that can reach heights of 32 feet, although its usual height at maturity is 10 to 15 feet. It is typically found along borders of streams, forming thickets or small groves in low rather moist limestone soils. It grows in well-drained, moist or occasionally dry, soils in full or partial sun. It will not grow in the shade. The plant is not grown in North Carolina; however, its seeds are imported for making necklaces.

Sophora secundiflora is drought-tolerant and prefers rocky limestone soil. Like many woody plants native to rocky soils, it is slow growing. The fragrance of its flowers is reminiscent of artificial grape products. The brilliant, lacquer red seeds contain the highly poisonous alkaloid cytisine (or sophorine), a substance related to nicotine and widely cited as a narcotic and hallucinogen. Although Mescal Bean is a common name for the plant, it bears no relation to the Agave species used to make the spirit mezcal.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems

No known insect or disease problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#ornamental interest#evergreen shrub#evergreen tree
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#ornamental interest#evergreen shrub#evergreen tree
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Sophora
    Species:
    secundiflora
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico and Southwestern USA
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    drought
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Description:
    Woody pod with bright red, poisonous seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Pea-like violet-blue flowers. The flowers, in 3 to 7 inch drooping clusters, are very showy and fragrant.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Pinnately divided with 7-9 leaflets, notched, silky below. The dense and glossy compound leaves are composed of 7 to 9 shiny, leathery leaflets that are rounded on the ends. The leaflets are up to 2 inches or more long, tapering more gradually to the base than to the tip, and arranged along an axis terminated by a single leaflet .
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    The seeds of this plant, which are often used in making necklaces, are mildly poisonous if eaten. The poisonous elements of this plant resemble nicotine in its actions and toxicity. If seeds are ingested, it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, excitement, delirium, and coma.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Alkaloids
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Seeds