Bursera hindsiana

Accession Count: 3
Common Name: Red Elephant Tree
Family Name: Burseraceae
Botanical Name: Bursera hindsiana
Sub Species:
Variety:
Forma:
Cultivar:
Characteristics: Bursera hindisana is a large, deciduous shrub or small tree that grows up to fifteen feet tall (1,2,3) and tends to spread. It has smooth, resinous, reddish bark that becomes greyish with age (1,2,3,4). The plant often develops a swollen caudex above the ground where it stores water (1,5,6). The plant oozes an aromatic resin when cut or wounded (1). Its aromatic leaves, which measure up to two inches in length, are dark green in color, grow at branch tips and are velvety with scalloped edges (1,2,3,5,4). Leaves may be simple, trifoliate, or compound with five to seven leaflets (2,3,5). In the fall, the plant bears inconspicuous white flowers, which are quickly followed by fleshy, yellow to reddish-brown fruit (3,4,5). Seeds are black, oval shaped and covered with a fleshy orange aril (1,2). 
Compound: Bur hin
Geographic Origin: Mexico
Ecozone Origin: Nearctic
Biome Origin:
Natural History: The red elephant tree is native to Baja California, coastal Sonora, and gulf islands where it grows along slopes and washes (2,5). The genus name Bursera derives from Joachim Burser, a German botanist; the specific epithet hindsiana comes from Richard Brinsley Hinds, a British naturalist.
Cultivation Notes: Bursera hindsiana is a large shrub or a small tree which is drought resistant and easy to grow (1). It can be planted outdoors in frost-free areas or grown in containers and brought indoors when cold temperatures are expected (1). The plant is tolerant of most soils as long as they are well drained (1). It does best in full sun and is hardy down to about 0 °C (30 °F)  or slightly lower (1). It should be watered regularly in the summer to promote faster growth (1). It is both drought and winter deciduous (1,5). It makes a good bonsai specimen (1). B. hindsiana makes an excellent accent tree, and can be grown in planters, next to plain walls, or in any place where its silhouette can be visible. It can be combined well with cactus, agave, and yuccas.
Ethnobotany: The seeds have been used as food in times of hunger (1). The aromatic resin has been used for perfumes and incense (1). The wood is suitable for carving objects (1). In northern Mexico the plant is used to alleviate respiratory illnesses and cough (4).

Height: 11 - 15 feet
Width: 6 - 10 feet
Growth Rate: Moderate Growing
Grow Season: Summer
Flower Season: Summer
Color: White
Function: Accent
Spread: Spreading
Allergen: Non-allergenic
Invasive: Benign
Toxicity: Benign
Hardy: Semi-hardy
Water Use: Low water Use

Citations:
1. Encyclopedia of Living Forms. Accessed February 14, 2017. 
2. San Diego Natural History Museum. Accessed February 14, 2017. 
4. Digital Library of Traditional Mexican Medicine. Accessed February 14, 2017. 
5. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Accessed February 14, 2017. 
Jones, Warren D, and Charles M Sacamano. Landscape Plants for Dry Regions: More Than 600 Species from around the World. Fisher Books, 2000.
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Bursera hindsiana