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Cordia

Boraginaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees

These members of the forget-me-not family are grown for their showy flowers. Some species are at home in the desert Southwest, others in more tropical climates.

Cordia boissieri (photo courtesy of Richard Shiell)
Cordia boissieri (photo courtesy of Richard Shiell)

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Cordia boissieri

Native to New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico; adapted to low and intermediate deserts. Grows to 12 ft. tall and 8–10 ft. wide. Oval, rough-surfaced, grayish green leaves to 5 in. long. Clustered, 2 1/2-in. white flowers with yellow throats begin bloom in midspring and continue over a long season; repeat bloom is possible in autumn. Can be kept pruned as a 3–5-ft. shrub or trained into a small tree.

Cordia sebestena

Native to the Caribbean Islands and tropical America. A popular street tree in Hawaii’s dry lowlands. Grows to 10–25 ft. high and 15 ft. wide, with a dense, round head. Dark green leaves are 9–12 in. long and half as wide, and so rough surfaced they are almost sandpapery. Clusters of brilliant orange-red flowers are produced much of the year at branch tips. Good wind and salt tolerance; takes drought but does best with regular water.

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