After the Mexican Plums, Texas Mountain Laurels and Redbuds have finished blooming, the Anacacho Orchid tree graces us with its pure white blooms, which can last almost a month. I am particularly fond of this Texas native, as it is very versatile in the landscape. Tolerating both full sun as well as part shade in an understory location, it is also quite tolerant of thin limestone soils. Good drainage is one of its few requirements.
The Anacacho Orchid is native to three counties in south Texas and northeastern Mexico, including the Anacacho Mountains, from where it gets its name. The small, bi-lobed leaves are unique, and have the shape of a tiny cloven-hoof . Even when not in bloom, the upright vase-shape of this small tree with its unique leaf shape lend interest to the garden. The species name B. congesta refers to the tight clusters of white or pale-pink ¾” flowers, which appear crowded-hence the specific epithet “congesta”, which means crowded or congested!
Deer may browse on the foliage until it grows above their reach. Fortunately, this tree is relatively fast growing, reaching 15 ‘ tall and wide. It usually loses its leaves in the winter, but may remain evergreen if planted in a protected location. It is at it’s northern most hardiness zone in Central Texas, and some years may receive die-back from hard freezes.
Overall, this is a perfect large shrub or tree-it is drought resistant (once established), needs little care, grows fairly fast, and produces abundant spring blooms!