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Texas Baby Bonnets, Baby Bonnets, Coursetia, Couaxi
Coursetia axillaris

Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

Pretty but elusive, baby bonnets is rare in Texas, found only in small populations on the Rio Grande Plains, although it is common in Tamaulipas in Mexico. It grows in full sun on caliche ridges and in woodlands, most often in well-drained soil. It is a densely-branched shrub with an irregular shape and, in February to March, sports tiny sweet-pea-shaped flowers that can be white, yellow and pink. The fruit is a small, reddish pod that ripens early and can appear simultaneously with the flowers. It can adapt to various soils as long as they are well-drained, and is somewhat tolerant of saline soils. Baby bonnets has a graceful natural form, eventually spreading in a vase shape to be as wide as it is tall, and pruning should be restricted to removing dead branches only. Its informal, irregular shape would complement a naturalistic landscape, where its drought tolerance would also be an asset. It is deciduous, and cold hardy to about 20 degrees F.

Plant Habit or Use: medium shrub

Exposure: sun

Flower Color: pink, white and yellowish

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: twisted pods 1 to 2 inches long

Height: 3 to 9 feet

Width: 5 to 12 feet

Plant Character: deciduous

Heat Tolerance: very high

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: adaptable

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8

Additional Comments:

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