Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Favorite Texas native plants: Acourtia wrightii

It's Texas Native plant week so I'm featuring a few of my favorite native plants to show off how many beautiful plant options are still available after we've given up trying to grow plants unsuited to our soils and weather.  After a few failures we gardeners learn to head for the native plant section at our local nursery or double check the list of adapted plants.  No better place to start than with Acourtia wrightii which bloomed for the first time this summer after nearly five years in the garden.

Medina Garden Nursery which specializes in native plants was the source for this hard to find plant. They are a great resource for native plants since many of the plants they offer are scarce at nurseries and some, like Acourtia wrightii, are only available from specialists in native plants.  So excited to find an unusual locally native plant I snapped it up despite its unfortunate common name Brownfoot.   Brownfoot refers to a thick root or hairs that form at the base of the plant though I don't see that when I look.

There's not a lot of info out there but I did find it at the Native Plant Database (NPIN) and even more info in Sally Wasowski's book Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region which I highly recommend to anyone with an interest in growing Texas native plants.

Acourtia wrightii has never been featured on my blog because it didn't look like much for four years. I wondered at times if it would even survive.  After watching two woody stems struggle for several years I decided to cut the whole thing back to three inches in early spring.  That turned out to be a good decision because, with the help of spring rain, it quickly put out numerous arching stems covered with thick, shiny, leathery leaves.  Planted where there's plenty of light but limited direct sun during the heat of the day seems to be a good spot for this plant.

Photos I've seen show flowers of deeper pink though these 4" blossoms are nicely fragrant and quite showy for a native plant.

Leaves are shiny and leathery.

According to Wasowski's book its seeds are attractive too.  Unfortunately, I didn't remember that detail before deadheading it so just pretend this stem is still attached and ignore those brown leaves.

Now that it's covered in blooms, I can easily imagine a row of blooming Brownfoot arching over lower plants in the border.   It colonizes slowly by rhizomes so if the seeds don't work I'll need to be patient or make another trip to Medina.

Native to Central Texas and Cold Hardy to Zone 7 and heat hardy to Zone 10, it has a wide range.  Typical of many plants from our arid climate it can go for long periods of time without water. The leaves will lose their color without dropping and then green up when rains return.  Now that's a worthy plant for my Texas garden.


  1. It's a beautiful plant, Shirley! Your 5-year wait is a lesson in the value of patience. I hope it blooms regularly for you from here on forward.

    1. A good garden requires patience or at least it teaches patience.

  2. Great post, Shirley. Glad you stuck with this plant and are enjoying the blooms, as are your pollinators.

    1. I haven't seen many pollinators on it but maybe next year or I need to plant them in different locations.

  3. Oh, that is a beautiful bloomer! Sometimes the plants that take a few years to get going really pay off over time. I'm finding that's more often the case with native perennials--particularly because the rabbits snack on them when they're small. Which, ultimately, I guess could help the plant a bit because it directs the growth to the roots if it doesn't kill the plant. Anyway, this is a beautiful plant. :)


Thank you for stopping by. To comment simply open the Name/URL option, put in your name or initials and skip the URL.