Texas Ebony

Q:

What is “Texas ebony,” and where can I get some?
—Richard Baker, Madisonville, Texas

A:

Texas ebony, Mexican ebony, or false acacia are nicknames for a species known as Pithecellobium flexicaule, Richard. The “ebony” part of Texas ebony overstates its color, though. The heartwood, as shown below, comes closer to a light walnut shade than true ebony’s black.

 Although these desert-hearty trees have reached 50' high with trunks 4' in diameter, you’ll be hard-pressed to find such a specimen. These trees spend their early life more closely resembling a shrub, and their growth rate slows after passing 1' in height. That makes them perfect for bonsai projects and landscaping, but not the sort of species that yields enough heartwood to fill racks in a lumberyard.

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