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Choisya ternata - Kunth.

Common Name Mexican Orange Flower
Family Rutaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Chalky soils, often near the sea[244].
Range Southern N. America - Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Choisya ternata Mexican Orange Flower

Choisya ternata Mexican Orange Flower


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Choisya ternata is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 7. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Hedge;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Hedge  Hedge

Plants can be grown as an informal hedge, they also respond well to clipping and so can be grown in a more formal manner[29].

Special Uses

Hedge  Hedge  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires an open sunny but sheltered position[11]. Plants can be damaged by cold winds[219]. Plants grow equally well whether in full sun or in deep shade[202]. They succeed in most soils[202], but prefer a rather light loam[1, 11]. They require a well-drained soil, tolerating drought once established and atmospheric pollution[184]. A very ornamental plant[1], it usually survives very severe winters in Britain but can be damaged in spells of lesser cold, especially in the New Year[11]. Plants are normally undamaged at temperatures around -10°c but can be defoliated at -15°c[184]. Whole branches have a habit of dying for no apparent reason[182]. The Mexican orange flower is moderately fast growing when young, but it soon slows down with age[202]. The plants are very tolerant of pruning and can be cut right back to the ground if required[202]. Pruning is generally unnecessary for this species, apart from cutting out frost-damaged wood[219]. Some named forms have been selected for their ornamental value[188]. The flowers appear mainly in late spring[188, 219], but plants can produce a few flowers in the autumn[188]. They often also flower intermittently all through the summer[219]. The flowers are borne at the shoot tips[219]. The crushed foliage has a pungent aromatic scent of oranges[202, 245] and the flowers are sweetly fragrant with the powerful aroma of orange blossom[219, 245]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 6 - 8cm long, early July in gentle heat in individual pots in a frame[11, 78]. High percentage[78]. Cuttings of almost ripe wood, 10 - 15cm with a heel, August in a frame. Good percentage. Plant out in spring[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Mrs Joan Fournier   Sat May 10 2008

I bought a small cutting of Mexican Orange Blossom at a Church fete about 20 years ago. I planted it next to my back door (partial shade). It grows very vigourously, but has never once flowered in all this time. why is this?

frank joyce   Fri Apr 17 2009

note tendency for C. ternata to produce tight V shaped forks and stems as they thicken to suffer from windrock. Stems at base also have tendency for growing horizontally before they go vertical.I accept that my site is probably too exposed but wonder if this problem is due entirely to that or whether some genetic stock is more prone to it than others.

   Mar 15 2013 12:00AM

Studies in mice have found anxiolytic and anti-depressive effects. See reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23132808

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Subject : Choisya ternata  
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