The Graceful Eve’s Necklace

evesnecklacec04-16-10.jpgEve’s Necklace, Styphnolobium affine/Sophora affinis, also known as Texas Sophora. I once underappreciated this small native tree growing wild in my sideyard, because as a young and small sapling dominated by the cedar elms above it, it was hard-pressed to grab my attention.

As the small saplings became bigger, however, I began to notice the black string of pearls — its seed pods – for which it earned its name.

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And its light to dark green leaflets I always dubbed as “cute.” I’m so technical.

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evesnecklacek04-16-10.jpgThis spring, however, the pink wisteria-like blooms finally caught my eye, and I have been spending many a morning gazing up at the somewhat wispy understory trees.

evesnecklacee04-16-10.jpgevesnecklacej04-16-10.jpgWith more available sun, I know, it gets much denser and takes on the more classic tree look. It can also eventually reach 30 ft, but my tallest is about 15 feet, and I suspect it will always stay less than 25 feet tall due to its location under the much larger shade trees.

evesnecklacef04-16-10.jpgEve’s Necklace loves alkaline soil, of which I have plenty, and it is quite adaptable as long as the earth is well-drained. It’s fairly fast-growing and germinates well on its own. It’s native to Central Texas and hardy to Zone 7.

evesnecklaceh04-16-10.jpgThe tree has moderate deer resistance, but the deer in my neighborhood have left the saplings alone. It serves as a pollen and nectar source, and when dense enough it’s a good nesting and cover site.

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There’s an advantage to living in a place for years and not doing anything with it — one is that sometimes you get to find gems like Eve’s Necklace coming up naturally. I think that I’ll scatter the seeds about to get some growing in other places around my yard. I won’t eat them though (not that I would) — they’re poisonous!
 

EDIT: My husband’s response to reading this was “Huh.” Turns out he had no idea we had Eve’s Necklace in our yard (he’d probably never heard of it either). It’s a good thing I write this blog, so he can learn about our yard! 
 

9 thoughts on “The Graceful Eve’s Necklace

  1. Wow … this is an amazing tree. I’ve learned about something new as well as hubbie … I’ve never heard of Eve’s Necklace before. What beautiful flowers it has and your photos are just stunning. I just love to discover new beauties like this, so thanks for sharing.

  2. It’s a delightful tree, and I’ve never seen it bloom before (it must have, because I’ve seen a few seed pods on occasion). This year, perhaps because of all the rain last fall, I’ve got three of them in bloom, and the largest is just covered with them.
    Glad you visited, because I enjoyed getting to know about your blog, too!

  3. And Diana, photography and my husband is a whole other subject, haha. He fully admits that he doesn’t have “the eye.”

  4. Pretty. Maybe I should just start a list of seeds I’d like to, erm, borrow from your yard. I’ll give them back in a few years, I promise! :)
    It’s dangerous living so close to another native plant junky, but it’s the good kind of dangerous, I’m sure.

  5. What a lovely native tree! It reminds me a little bit of the wisteria which we have growing wild here, with those pea-shaped blossoms — one of my favorite flower forms, and also some of the most seductive in nature (and perhaps why this tree was named Eve’s necklace and not Jane’s necklace? ;)

  6. aloha meredith,
    what a lovely tree, so delicate and beautiful, the colors are sweet like a sweet pea!
    this is a beautiful native to hightlight today, thanks for sharing ;)

  7. You are quite right about little gems appearing when one lives in a place for years and not doing anything with it. It’s all about letting nature to sort out its own formula and color!
    ~bangchik

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