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Fragrant Texas Natives

Note: Research for this list was done through the Wildflower Research Center database, and the Austin Grow Green booklet.  Thanks go to both for inspiration and information.

Trees

Anacacho Orchid (Bauhinea lunaroides)   Large shrub or small tree with lacy light green foliage and small, lightly fragrant white flowers in spring.  Some later repeat.

Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana)  Medium sized evergreen tree with glossy mid-green foliage.  Both the foliage, bark/wood, and small bottle-brush shaped white flowers are fragrant.  Spring bloom.  Needs neutral to acid soil and good drainage.  A selection called ‘Bright and Tight’ is denser and more compact.

Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)  Medium sized tree with open, vase-shaped structure and trumpet-like flowers in white, pink, or burgundy.  Lightly fragrant flowers are borne spring through fall.

Escarpment Black Cherry (Prunus serotina var. serotina)  A large deciduous tree with good autumn color.  Fragrant white flowers in spring develop into black edible fruit in drupes.  Needs deep soil and moderate water.

Golden Leadtree (Leucaena retusa)  A small deciduous  tree growing to 20 feet.  Bright yellow ball-shaped flowers are carried over a long season from April-October.  Flowers are fragrant and plant is fast growing.

Hop Tree (Ptelea trifoliata)  Large deciduous shrub or small tree with citrus-scented greenish-white flowers in spring.  Host plant for caterpillars and attracts butterflies.

Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)  Large evergreen tree with dark green glossy leaves  and huge fragrant white flowers over a long season in summer.  Requires neutral to acid soil that is deep, and moderate water.

Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana)  Medium-sized deciduous tree, best planted in half day sun.  Fragrant white blooms in spring develop into small edible fruit.  Needs fairly deep soil and good drainage.

Shrubs

Agarita (Berberis trifoliata)  A small to medium-sized evergreen shrub with spiky bluish-green foliage and bright yellow fragrant flowers in spring.  Red berries are eaten by wildlife.

Cherry or Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)  Small to medium mostly evergreen shrub with white, yellow, pink, coral, or red flowers from spring to frost.  The foliage is more aromatic than the flowers.

Fragrant Mimosa (Mimosa borealis)  Medium-sized deciduous shrub with airy foliage and prickly stems.  Pink flowers are borne spring through mid-summer and are very fragrant.  Tolerates poor soils.

Fragrant Mistflower/Shrubby Boneset (Eupatorium havanense)  A medium-sized deciduous shrub that bears fuzzy white flowers late summer to frost.  Beloved by butterflies and hummingbirds.

Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatic)  A medium to large deciduous shrub with spicy, fragrant foliage that colors well in the fall.

Guajillo Tree (Acacia berlandieri)  A spreading shrub with many stems from the base, growing 3-15 ft tall.  The white-to-cream-colored flowers (yellowing with age), grow in ball-like clusters and are quite fragrantEarly spring bloom.

Kidneywood (Eysenhardtia Texana)  A deciduous large shrub to small tree to 15’.  Fragrant white flowers bloom intermittently from spring to fall.  The foliage is also fragrant when crushed.

Mountain Sage (Salvia regla)  A 3-5 foot tall much-branched deciduous shrub with crimson-red flowers from July-October.  The foliage is aromatic and the flowers very showy.  Requires good drainage.

Texas Mockorange (Philadelphus texensis)  Small to medium-size deciduous shrub with heavily fragrant white blossoms in spring.  Coveted by many and hard to locate in the trade.

Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)  A large shrub or small tree with shiny evergreen foliage and intensely fragrant (of grape) purple flowers borne in spring.  Seeds are poisonous.  Needs good drainage.

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)  A small to medium-sized deciduous shrub with fragrant white flowers in spring.  Requires neutral to acid soil and medium water.  Native in the eastern half of Texas and the U.S.

Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera)  Large evergreen shrub with glossy medium green foliage and insignificant white flowers.  The foliage is aromatic when crushed.  There are lower growing varieties available, but those sucker and are more open in habit.  Requires neutral to acid soil and medium water.

Perennials

Angel’s Trumpet (Datura wrightii)  A medium-sized branching plant  that blooms large, white, fragrant, trumpet-like flowers summer through fall. The flowers protrude from the coarse foliage of the rank-smelling plant. Evening and night blooming.   All parts of the plant are very poisonous.

Beebalm/Wild Bergamot (Mondarda fitulosa)  A tall (2-5 foot) herbaceous perennial bears fragrant white, pink, or lavender flowers that look like “ragged pom-poms” from May-September.  The aromatic leaves, smelling of mint, are used to make tea.

Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum)  Low-growing evergreen plant with daisy-like white flowers spring through summer.  Fragrance is honey-scented.

Brownfoot (Acourtia wrightii)  This herbaceous perennial grows from 2-5 feet tall and bears rose-pink fragrant flower heads from March-November.  Requires part shade and dry conditions.

Chocolate Daisy (Berlandiera lyrata)  Growing 1-3 feet high and wide, this perennial bears yellow daisy-like flowers from April-November.  The flowers are chocolate scented.  Tolerates most soils as long as they are well-drained.

Damianita (Chrysactinea mexicana)  Low-growing to 1-2’ and as wide, evergreen plant with narrow fragrant foliage.  Flowers are bright yellow and borne spring through fall.  Requires dry conditions and excellent drainage.

Fragrant Phlox (Phlox pilosa)  A 2’ tall deciduous plant  and un-branched.  The white, pink, or lavender flowers occur in late spring-summer and are mildly fragrant.  Medium water needs.  Another native to the SE U.S. Phlox paniculata is even longer blooming and also very fragrant.  There are a number of hybrids that do well in our area.

Gayfeather/Blazing Star (Liatrus mucronata)  A deciduous perennial that grow from 1-2 feet or more high and wide.  The lavender or white flowers are borne from August to December and attract butterflies and other insects.  Requires dry soil and excellent drainage.

Hill Country Rain-Lily (Cooperia pedunculata)  this perennial plant will emerge and bloom 2-3 days following a rain during the spring and early summer seasons.  The fragrant white trumpet-shaped flowers last for only a day or two before wilting and disappearing.

Vines

American/Texas Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens)  A deciduous vine growing 25-30 feet and bearing pale purple 1” long flowers with a nice fragrance.  Not as aggressive as the Asian species.  Flowers in spring and intermittently thereafter.  In Texas, the Dam B cultivar has blue flowers in racemes and flowers late May to June and sporadically throughout the summer and fall. A cultivar called Nivea has white flowers.

Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)  An evergreen twining vine growing from 15-30 feet, the large trumpet-shaped flowers are bright yellow and fragrant.  Blooms in early spring and occasionally in fall.  All parts of the plant are poisonous.  Performs better in neutral to acid soils.

Prairie Rose (Rosa setigera)  This is a thornless rose that will ramble or climb from 6-15 feet tall.  Five-petaled rosy pink flowers bloom in May, and gradually fade to white, creating in multi-hued effect.  Showy red fruit  matures over summer.  Will grow in sun or shade, but must be protected from deer, who relish it.

Western White Honeysuckle/Texas Honeysuckle (Lonicera albiflora)   This deciduous sprawling shrub grows from 4-10 feet tall and bears showy white and fragrant flowers from March-May.  The flowers are followed by clusters of orange-red fruit.  Protect from deer until the plant can reach above browse-line.

 
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