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Mexican Buckeye


Ungnadia speciosa

Get ready to add some Texan flair to your garden with the Mexican Buckeye! This deciduous shrub is a true beauty, with its light bronze-colored leaflets that turn a pale green during the early growing season and a bright golden yellow leaves in the fall.

As if that wasn't enough, Mexican Buckeye also loves to show off its clusters of bright pink flowers that bloom before the leaves in the spring and are slightly fragrant. Bees also enjoy this shrub and produce honey from the floral nectar. Plus, it's a tough plant that can handle poor soil and limestone areas, as long as it has adequate drainage.

It's generally multi-trunked, but can be pruned regularly to maintain a single trunk like a small tree. The pinnate leaves can be up to 12 inches long, with up to six pairs of leaflets, each up to five inches long. They turn a rich yellow color in the fall, falling at the first frost. New branches are smooth, however they become fissured (wrinkly-like) with age. It also has distinctive tri-valved seed pods that develop through the summer, splitting open before fall to reveal the black seeds. It earned its name due to the seeds looking very similar to buckeyes, however, it is not related to Aesculus (true Buckeyes), and is the only species in the genus Ungadia.

Careful planting this shrub near the homestead, as the seeds are poisonous despite their sweetness. The foliage is toxic and is rarely browsed by livestock, but you wouldn't like being eaten either.

Height: 15’-30'
Spread: 8’-12'
Bloom: Spring 
Light: Full sun, Partial sun 
Water:  Low
Zone: 7, 8 , 9, 10, 11
Origin: Texas, S.E. New Mexico,  Northern Mexico

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