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Sophora secundiflora - (Ortega.)Lag. ex DC.

Common Name Mescal Bean, Texas Mountain Laurel
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards The plant, and especially the seeds, contains the poisonous alkaloid cytosine (or sophorin according to another report[82]), which resembles nicotine in its action and is similarly toxic[238].
Habitats Borders of streams, forming thickets or small groves in low rather moist limestone soils[82].
Range Southern N. America - Texas, New Mexico and Northern Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Sophora secundiflora Mescal Bean, Texas Mountain Laurel

Sophora secundiflora Mescal Bean, Texas Mountain Laurel


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Bloom Color: Purple. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Rounded, Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Sophora secundiflora is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft 10in) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen in October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.


Broussonetia secundiflora. Virgilia secundiflora.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge;

Edible Uses

None known

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.

Hallucinogenic;  Narcotic.

Hallucinogenic, narcotic[82, 161, 192]. An infusion of the seeds is used[192, 200], half a seed is enough to produce intoxication[192]. An infusion of the ground up seed has also been applied to ears in the treatment of earaches[213, 257]. The seeds contain the highly poisonous alkaloid cytosine (or sophorine) - this substance is related to nicotine and acts violently in the human system[213].

Other Uses

Dye;  Wood.

A yellow dye is obtained from the wood[227]. Wood - very heavy, hard, close grained[82]. Of no commercial importance[227].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Espalier, Pest tolerant, Massing, Standard, Specimen, Street tree. Succeeds in a well-drained moderately fertile soil in full sun[200]. Succeeds in a hot dry position. Rather slow-growing and difficult to transplant[227]. A very ornamental plant[274]. This species has not been tried outdoors in Britain, it is possibly hardy if grown in the sunniest mildest areas of the country, or against a sunny wall in less mild areas[11]. It grows best in the warmer areas of the country where the wood will be more readily ripened and better able to withstand winter cold[219]. Plants should be container-grown and planted out whilst young, older plants do not transplant well[219]. The flowers have a powerful and delicious fragrance[82, 200], though some people find them offensive[227]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. Special Features: North American native, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.


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Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse[200]. Pre-soak stored seed for 12 hours in hot (not boiling) water and sow in late winter in a greenhouse[78]. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle into individual pots in the greenhouse, and grow them on for 2 years under protected conditions. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer of their third year. Cuttings of young shoots with a heel, July/August in a frame[11]. Air-layering[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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 NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Acacia sophoraeCoastal Wattle, Acacia20
Sophora davidiiSophora10
Sophora flavescensKu Shen, Shrubby sophora03
Sophora japonicaJapanese Pagoda Tree, Scholar Tree23
Sophora mollis 10
Sophora moorcroftiana 01
Sophora sericeaSilky Sophora30
Sophora tetrapteraKowhai00
Sophora tonkinensis 02


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(Ortega.)Lag. ex DC.

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Subject : Sophora secundiflora  
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