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PlantFiles: Guayacan
Guaiacum coulteri

Family: Zygophyllaceae
Genus: Guaiacum (GWY-uh-kum) (Info)
Species: coulteri (kol-TER-ee-eye) (Info)

Synonym:Guaiacum planchoni

5 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #1 of Guaiacum coulteri by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #2 of Guaiacum coulteri by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #3 of Guaiacum coulteri by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #4 of Guaiacum coulteri by Xenomorf

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Thumbnail #5 of Guaiacum coulteri by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #6 of Guaiacum coulteri by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #7 of Guaiacum coulteri by Xenomorf

There are a total of 21 photos.
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4 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive AridTropics On Sep 6, 2013, AridTropics from Bradenton , FL wrote:

Ever since seeing pictures of this Guaiacum species in flower, It has been on my to acquire/ trial list. I was lucky enough to pick up a nice 1gal specimen while attending Desert Botanical's spring sale back in March.

I also made a special trip to Glendale while in town to examine a couple specimens planted in the Demo gardens to get an idea of how much this species is/was effected by freezing temperatures since documented cold hardiness seems to vary depending on information provided over the internet. Thus far, my own specimen has done well here in San Jose, CA. steadily pushing bursts of growth during warm spells through the summer in full hot sun most of the day. Regardless, it isn't a fast grower.

Because it is such a rarity, I soak it only once a week. I have heard that rainfall within it's native range varies between 12-40", mostly falling during the warmer months. Once the winter rains start up, i'll keep it drier, and provide overhead protection to keep excess rainfall off.

While back in Phoenix a few weeks ago, my first stop was Glendale to check upon these specimens, as well as other desert-type trees I have been researching extensively. I was treated not only to the spectacular 1-11/2" wide Sapphire blue flowers, but plenty of ripe seed.

Because seed of Guaiacum species are considered recalcitrant (remaining viable only for a short period of time after harvesting) I sowed what seed id collected for trial immediately after I returned home. At this time, I have at least half a dozen germinated, or in the process.

While I would consider this species highly experimental this far north thus far, it is none the less something every serious plant geek should try. It is simply one of the most stunning treasures of the Sonoran Desert.

Everything, ..from the flowers, to the bright red arils which cover the seeds, foliage, and branching pattern of this plant captures attention, providing year-round interest. Hoping it proves hardy enough to someday show up in local gardens far removed from it's home in the Tropical Dry Forests of N.W. Mexico.

Positive PlantNutPeg On Aug 11, 2012, PlantNutPeg from Casas Adobes, AZ wrote:

I planted a Guayacan in Tempe, Arizona. I lived there 10 years and if flourished the entire time. No, they are not easy to find. However, Shady Way Nursery in Apache Junction is a treasure trove for unusual desert plants. If you live in or near Maricopa County, youneed to know about this nursery. The Guayacan is also available at Tohono Chul Gardens in Tucson.

Positive conrehabit On Jan 9, 2011, conrehabit from Mazatlan
Mexico wrote:

We planted 5 Guayacan trees in our property 4 years ago. They were only 20-30 cms. long at the time. They are doing very well, with watering twice a week. The picture I uploaded is from an existing tree in our 2 acre site. People tell me that it is 20 years old and it is barely 5' tall but very vigorous. I collected only 7 seeds from it last winter. Most neighbours "harvest" my tree before I know it. The 7 seeds germinated in 15-20 days in small pots in my back patio and they are doing very well. I also got 2 cuttings 2 weeks ago and Isurprinsingly, one is growing small leaves!!
I have used cow manure as fertilizer and the most commercial brand as well. The cow manure gave me good results.
I have seen at least 1 large (18 feet or taller) tree along the Free Highway 15 road between Mazatlan and El Quelite, Sin.

Positive sonotaps On Aug 13, 2004, sonotaps from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

The Guayacan is native to Mexico and is found as far north as Sonora near Hermosillo (relatively frost free). I have one growing in my yard in Phoenix. They are drought/cold deciduous, and require a little more water here than in their native habitat, where the monsoon is more pronounced. That is not to say that they aren't suitable for xeriscape in the least. A tough plant. I've had no problem with cold in Phoenix at all with this one. The plant blooms profusely with purple flowers during the hottest part of summer in Phoenix, defying Mother Nature's fury. Have to admire that about the Guayacan. The little leaves come directly off the small branches and even the trunk with the most brilliant bright green coloring.

A beautiful shrub to small tree, but relatively hard to find here (which astounds me). This plant should be used more. Don't expect the 'Joe Mass' nurseries to carry interesting/beautiful things instead of the same old blah blah blah if people don't demand them. Reward your locally-owned nursery by giving them your business instead.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona (3 reports)
Tucson, Arizona
Vista, California
Galveston, Texas

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