Havardia pallens

Accession Count: 13
Common Name: Tenaza
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Family Name: Fabaceae
Botanical Name: Havardia pallens
Family Synonyms: Leguminosae
Sub Species:
Characteristics: The tenaza plant has dark green, alternate bipinnate, leathery leaves with revolute margins. They survive during the winter months and are therefore classified as evergreen trees. The flowers of the tenaza tree are very intriguing, they look like a small puffball, with each of the "petals", which are thin white rods, coming from a center point.
Compound: Hav pal
Geographic Origin: Mexico, Southwest Texas
Ecozone Origin: Nearctic
Biome Origin: US, MX
Natural History:
Tenaza is found in the Southwest parts of Texas and the Northeastern parts of Mexico (1,2,3). Tenaza is especially prevalent in the coastal plain regions of the Rio Grande (4). Tenaza is found growing in “loamy alluvial soils” (4) near riverbeds and watering holes, as well as near marshes, lakes, and ponds (3). H. pallens contain “reddish-brown” seedpods along with flattened round “brown-black” seeds (4). The tenazas’ flowers entice bees along with grazing animals such as goats and sheep (4).

Cultivation Notes: H. pallens upright growth of this and tropical appearance are very different from other Havardia species. When trying to conserve water by using a xeric landscape, a mini-oasis or transition landscape is best suited for this species. Full sun or partial shade, along with low to moderate amounts of watering are ideal for proper growth.
Ethnobotany: Tenaza has very fragrant flowers that attract bees to them. Due to this species' size and shape, it is perfect on patios or in backyards. It also works very well in groves, providing light shade.

Height: 20 - 50 feet
Width: 20 - 50 feet
Growth Rate: Fast Growing
Grow Season: Winter
Flower Season: Summer
Color: White
Function: Patio
Spread: Non-spreading
Allergen: Non-allergenic
Invasive: Benign
Toxicity: Benign
Hardy: Hardy
Water Use: Low water Use

  1. University of Arizona
  2. USDA
  3. University of Texas
  4. Aggie <g data-gr-id="6">Horticluture</g>
Shuler, Carol. Low-Water-Use Plants. Da Capo Press, 1993.

Havardia pallens