Texas Mountain Laurel

 Texas Mountain Laurel  (Sophora secundifl ora)

Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundifl ora)

Texas Mountain Laurel
Sophora secundifl ora
(SOF-or-uh sek-und-ee-FLOR-uh)

Mescal Bean, Colorino, Frigolito, Frigillito, Big Drunk Bean


This harbinger of spring is a native evergreen with luxuriant foliage and intensely fragrant, deep violet flower clusters.  All parts of this plant are poisonous – children, pets and the unaware need be cautioned.

Plant habit
Narrow and upright, maturing into an open canopy, typically multi-stemmed

Landscape use
Plant as a specimen or in a group for visual impact, ideal for small locations.  Plant in a location where the fragrant blossoms can be enjoyed.

Average mature sizes
20’ tall x 15’ wide

Growth rate
Slow, difficult to propagate and transplant due to its sensitive root system, thus larger specimens are relatively expensive in the nursery trade

Sun exposure
Sun; may benefit from afternoon shade when young

Soil requirements
Tolerates alkaline conditions

Water requirements
Prefers any well-drained soil

Heat tolerance
High; tolerates urban growing conditions

Evergreen, glossy, green leaves are thick and leathery, providing dense coverage

Purple flower panicles, very fragrant

Blooming period

Fruit characteristics
Long hairy seed pods; white or red seeds are poisonous

Pests and disease
None serious

Earth-Kind ®plant:  tolerates infrequent watering, poor soils, and is relatively pest and disease free.  May need protection from a severe winter in the Brazos Valley/  Before 1000 A.D., Texas Indians brewed a ceremonial, hallucinogenic drink made from a mixture of powder ground from a seed and mescal (Agave) to communicate with the spirit world. In 1539, Cabeza de Vaca reported use of the red bean (seed) used in trading goods. At that time, a six foot necklace of beans could buy a small horse.

“For drought tolerance, no pests and ease of growing, our Texas Mountain Laurel is hard to beat.” – Paul Groom, Texas Gardening Guide.