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Landscaping for Wildlife

Feather 7
Feather 7


Prosopis glandulosa

Other Names: Honey Mesquite

A thorny medium-sized tree that may reach up to 40’ tall. Found in abundance in South Texas, flowers bloom from Spring to Fall and are long, fragrant, cylinder spikes, creamy white and turn yellow with maturity. The leaves are deciduous and located alternately along the stems. The fruits are reddish brown loosely clustered pods (beans) up to 9” long which are eaten by jack rabbits, songbirds, and various small mammals. 


Acacia farnesiana

Other Names: Texas Huisache, Sweet Acacia, Mealy Acacia

Small tree in the Legume family, may grow up to 20’ tall with paired straight spines.  Flowers form a fragrant, yellow to orange, fluffy ball with multiple clusters of yellow stamens. A favorite for honeybees and many other pollinators. Fruits are black, nearly cylindrical, legume up to 3” long, that will get foraged by small mammals. Doves and other birds use this tree for nesting and cover.


Pithecellobium pallens

Other Names: Huajillo

Spiny shrub tree that may grow up to 25’ tall, locally abundant in the coastal plain regions of the Rio Grande. Flowers from Spring to Fall, forming tiny white fluff balls that are scented and important source of nectar for bees and butterflies. Fruits “reddish-brown” seedpods along with flattened round “brown-black” seeds.


Sugar Hackberry
Celtis laevigata

Other Names: Sugarberry,

Hackberry, Palo Blanco

Large deciduous tree that grows up to 52’ tall. The leaves have a semi-rough texture, underside has large, netlike veins. Although, not noticeable, the flowers occur in early spring and develop into rounded, reddish-brown fruits (drupes) that persists on the tree throughout the winter. Many species of songbirds including mockingbirds eat the fruit and use the tree for nesting habitat. It is a larval and nectar host for two butterflies: Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis) and American Snout (Libytheana carineta).

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Leucaena pulverulenta

Other Names: Great Leadtree,

Mexican Leadtree

Tepeguaje is used extensively as an ornamental tree that helps with windbreak, shade and erosion control. May reach 50' tall, blooms in spring and summer with dense balls of white sweet-scented flowers. The leaves are twice-pinnately compound and range from 4” to 8” in length. Fruits a legume with narrow, flattened seeds up to 6” or longer.

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Parkinsonia aculeata

Other Names: Mexican Paloverde

Jerusalem Thorn, Horse Bean

A small, thorny tree that may reach up to 35’ tall with light green leaves and green branches.  The yellow flowers with red-orange throats bloom in spring or early summer, which are used by bees for honey production. Fruits a reddish-brown, linear pod, 2" to 4" long, constricted between the seeds and pointed at both ends. Doves and other birds will eat the seeds. 


Morus alba

Other Names: White Mulberry, Common Mulberry, Silkworm Mulberry

Small deciduous tree reaching 25’ tall, with a short trunk and a dense canopy of spreading branches.  Leaves are simple, alternate, and heart-shaped. A composite fruit shaped like an elongated blackberry around 1" long forms. Edible when ripe, turns dark purple or black, a favorite for many species of birds and small mammals. 


Wild Olive
Cordia boissieri

Other Names: Mexican Olive,

Anacahuita, Anacahuiete

Small tree native to the RGV, can reach up to 26’ tall and often planted as an ornamental. An evergreen, that blooms all seasons, attracts pollinators year-round. Flowers are brilliant white with yellow throats and wide trumpet-shaped great for butterflies and hummingbirds. Fruits are white to pale yellow drupes, about 1” long favored by birds and small mammals.

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Texas Lantana
Lantana urticoides

Other Names: Calico Bush

A deciduous, wide-spreading, aromatic perennial shrub that can reach up to 6’ tall. From April through October, compact clusters of bright red, yellow and orange tube flowers cover the leggy branches, drawing numerous of pollinators. Fruits deep purple-black berries which are poisonous to most mammals, but not to birds. 

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Betony Mistflower
Conoclinium betonicifolium

Other Names: Betony Leaf Mistflower, Padre Mistflower

A perennial, herbaceous native plant that stems up to 40” long. Common to South Padre Island and can be found in sandy coastal prairies of Texas. The flowers are small, bluish, flat-top clusters that bloom from April to November. Plant will thrive and flower in full sun, but will still produce in partial shade. Important nectar plant for bees and butterflies.

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Yellow Sophora
Sophora tomentosa

Other Names: Necklace Pod

Coastal Texas native shrub that grows up to 6’ tall with hairy alternating leaflets. The showy, elongated yellow flower tends to attract various pollinators during the spring, summer, and fall months when it blooms.  The fruit is a legume growing up to 5” long and resembling a short string of beads.

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Berlandier's Fiddlewood
Citharexylum berlandieri

Other Names: Tamaulipan Fiddlewood, Negrito, Orcajuela

Native, very drought resistant, shrub or small tree, in the RGV, can grow almost 20’ tall but usually around 8’ tall. Flowers are small white tubular, densely clustered (racemes) that bloom Spring and Summer.  Pollinated flowers are followed by long clusters of attractive orange berries that mature to black and are utilized by a variety of birds and mammals. 

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Turk's Cap
Malvaviscus drummondii

Other Names: Drummond Wax Wallow, Texas Mallow, Mexican Apple

A perennial shrub that spreads easily, does good in full sun or shade. May grow up to 10’ tall, but usually about 5’ tall. Blooms gorgeous red flowers from May to November, which have a sweet honeysuckle taste, a favorite for pollinators such as hummingbirds and carpenter bees. Produces tiny, red apple-like fruits that are a favorite for birds.

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Seaside Goldenrod
Solidago sempervirens

Other Names: Salt Marsh Goldenrod, Evergreen Goldenrod

Present throughout the coastal sands of SPI, this herbaceous perennial can reach 6’ or taller. Performs best in full sun to partial shade where it blooms in late summer to fall. Flowers are small, yellow, elongated, long terminal clusters, an important energy source for fall migrating monarch butterflies and other pollinators.

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Mexican Trixis
Trixis inula

Other Names: Hierba del Aire

A native weak-stemmed, sprawling shrub that can reach up to 6’ tall. Attractive ornamental that grows in brush lands, does well in shade and partial sun. Easily recognizable by it’s bright yellow two-lipped flowers and alternate, long oval leaves. Pollinator favorite due to it’s seasonal blooming.

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Chromolaena odorata

Other Names: Blue Mist Flower, Jack in the Bush, Butterfly Mistflower

This native perennial sprawls up to 6’ or longer. The stems are sometimes woody with opposite ovate leaves. Blooms all seasons, light blue to purple flat-topped clusters of flowers. It is nectar rich and makes the perfect landing platforms for pollinators of all shapes and sizes. It is also the host plant to the Rounded Metalmark butterfly. 


White Plumbago
Plumbago zeylanica

Other Names: Hierba De Alacran, Doctorbush, Plumbago Mexicana

An evergreen, loosely, sprawling shrub adorned with clusters of pure white, tubular flowers, 1” long, and stems up to 4’ or longer. Blooming, Spring-Fall, the flowers are particular attractive to butterflies. They also contrast nicely against the foliage leaves and can be used as an attractive ground cover. It does well in full sun or partial shade.

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Hairy Wedelia
Zexmenia hispida

Other Names: Orange Zexmenia Texas Creeping Oxeye

Native to Texas, this perennial evergreen has hairy, thin woody stems, 3’ or taller in height. Leaves are coarsely toothed, narrow ovate, 2” to 3” long. Yellow-orange flowers bloom from Spring to Fall with seed resembling sunflower seeds, but smaller. A good butterfly nectar plant and host plant to the Bordered Patch butterfly. It does well in full sun, partial shade.

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Texas Purple Sage
Leucophyllum frutescens

Other Names: Cenizo, Texas Silverleaf

Native evergreen shrub, very drought tolerant and used as an ornamental. Grows up to 8’ tall, sometimes taller. Blossoms beautiful pinkish to purple flowers from Spring-Fall, usually right after rainfall. Leaves are softly textured, grayish to silver green, due to the presence of fine silvery hairs. Great pollinator magnet and host plant to the Theona Checkerspot Butterfly.

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Pigeon Berry
Rivina humilis

Other Names: Rouge Plant

A native perennial that sprawls up to 12” to 24” tall and can act as perfect ground cover. Throughout the seasons it blooms inflorescence pink to white flowers and fruits red berries almost continuously. A great food source for a diversity of birds such as Grosbeaks and Mockingbirds. Host plant for the Goodson’s Green Streak butterfly as well. It does well in full shade, partial shade, and dappled sun.


Zizotes Milkweed
Asclepias oenotheroides

Other Names: Side-Cluster Milkweed

A herbaceous perennial which can grow up to 2’ tall, common to South Padre Island due to its favorable sandy clay soil conditions and full sun to partial shade. Bleeds milky sap when damaged and has white to yellowish flowers that bloom from April-November. Host plant for the Monarch Butterfly and the Queen Butterfly and used by various wildlife such as butterflies, bees and birds.

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