Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Mescal Bean Trees (Sophora secundiflora) are blooming!

One of the first trees to bloom in the Tucson area are the Mescal Bean Trees that I so adore. I noticed over the weekend that they are in full bloom right now so I had to go make a visit to the parent trees of the ones in my yard. My obsession with these trees goes back several years, to when I would encounter them on walks around a friends neighborhood. Sinking my nose into one of the blossoms gave me the most wonderful deja vu feeling. They smell like a cross between grape koolaid and lilacs and the smell seemed to transport me back to childhood. I found a small tree in the nursery last year, but even with babying it just hasn't done well. These trees don't transplant well so I decided I needed to start some from seed.
Last spring I collected seeds from the trees I found in the public areas in Tucson, and after several batches that didn't sprout, I was able to get 11 little trees growing in various parts of my yard. These trees are really slow growing though, so it may be many years before I get blooms outside my front door. Until then I will visit the ones in public areas to get my bean tree scent fixes! Here are some pictures of the trees in bloom this spring. Click on this first picture and notice the big black bumble bee enjoying it too.

The trees are just loaded down with flowers this year.


To see how I got mine started visit my early blog postings on Mescal Bean Trees here.
To see how my bean trees look today check out the slide-show in my sidebar.
Happy Bloomin Tuesday! For more Bloomin Tuesday posts visit Ms "Green Thumb" Jean.

18 comments:

Diane C. said...

I first encountered those trees at the UA campus. I also love that grape koolaid scent, and the color of the flowers, which remind me of wisterias. I know them as them Texas Mountain Laurels, and tried, unsuccessfully, to grow them in my yard. I didn't try starting them from seeds. I hope yours work for you.

Claude said...

They are beautiful, the blooms always remind me of wisteria.

Valeriannah said...

Oh my goodness! I just discovered your blog recently, and I'm glad I found you. That is a beautiful Laurel Blossom. Its been a few weeks since I've posted anything on my blog, and I thought about posting a shot of my Laurel blossoms that are popping out. They are so lovely. I need to close this comment so I can go back and cruise you blog some more!

Teri C said...

I smell these every morning when I walk and they are wonderful for sure! Thanks for the beautiful photo.

Paula said...

Love these tree's - do you think they would grow in zone 4? Do they produce any type of fruit?
Thanks for sharing! Paula in Idaho

Sugarplum Cottage said...

This looks just like Wisteria. I love those beautiful purple blooms. I bet they are cousins to Wisteria. Hugs, Rosemarie

Darla said...

Never heard of these, very pretty and a nive fragrance too, that's a bonus!!

Kathiesbirds said...

I was wondering what these are called! I saw them palnted in the median divider on Golflinks and alvernon and was wondering what they were. They remind me of purple robed locust trees and lilacs. I have never smelled one so I guess I need to get up close and personal with one! BTW, I have a photo on my blog of a bush in my front yard that has loads of yellow flowers on it and it makes bean pods. Do you know it's name? I tried looking on the internet last night. I thought it was cassia, but I couldn't find anything with the same shaped leaves.

Deb said...

This is my 1st visit, I joined, love your site!

Deborah Godin said...

Great post - I'm trying to make my mind's nose (similar to a mind's eye?) give me the smell of grape koolaid and lilacs, w/o success!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

This looks a lovely plant, Dee! I love the smell of lilac, but I don't know grape koolaid.

I wish you success with your plants!

fitty's pinky rose cottage said...

never see this tree before but the flowers are pretty.. and love the colors..

Deb said...

Thank you for stopping by Wordless Wednesday, you should join in some time....

Dee said...

Thanks for all the comments. These trees are blooming all over town and I just knew I wasn't the only one to think they were special. I put up a new slideshow of my little beans- 10 months old now!

Tara said...

I'm a Tucson native but living in Las Vegas and I've been looking for the mescal bean tree to purchase and grow here. All the local nursery's don't sell it for some reason so it looks like I'll be starting with seeds from online stores. Where did can I find them or do you know any places that sell small trees?

Tara said...

Never mind. I found a local nursery who had some in stock. Thanks Davis Nursery. Planted it yesterday and hope to see it grow and smell great.

Dee said...

hope it does well for you! The one I originally planted 2 years ago has finally taken off a little bit this spring. It seems they have such long tap roots that they do not transplant well and I certainly have found that to be true. In fact a couple of the ones I started from seed, are close to the size of the 4 year old tree I bought from the nursury.

Anonymous said...

The mescalbean tree is also deadly. Take care that children or animals do not eat the flowers, red seeds or leaves.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calia_secundiflora