Caesalpinia mexicana

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Caesalpinia mexicana
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Caesalpinia
Species: C. mexicana
Binomial name
Caesalpinia mexicana
Caesalpinia mexicana range map 2.png
Natural range
Poinciana mexicana
(A.Gray) Rose
Poincianella mexicana
(A.Gray) Britton & Rose[1]

Caesalpinia mexicana is a species of flowering plant in the pea family, Fabaceae. Common names include Mexican Holdback,[2] Mexican Caesalpinia, and Tabachín del Monte.[3] It is native to the extreme lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas[4] in the United States and south to central Mexico.[5] Its range in Mexico includes the northeast and further south along the Gulf coast as well as the Pacific coast in Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, and a small portion of Sinaloa.[6]


Mexican Caesalpinia is a small evergreen tree or large shrub, reaching a height of 3–4.6 m (9.8–15.1 ft) and a spread of 1.8–3 m (5.9–9.8 ft). Leaves are bipinnately-compound and dark green.[7] Each leaf has five to nine pinnae 4–9 cm (1.6–3.5 in) in length.[8] Pinnae are composed of four to five leaflets[7] that are 1–2.5 cm (0.39–0.98 in) long and 0.7–1.3 cm (0.28–0.51 in) wide.[8] Yellow, slightly fragrant flowers are produced on 7.6–15.2 cm (3.0–6.0 in) terminal spikes[7] of 10 to 30.[3] Blooming takes place from February to July, often continuing to October. The fruit is a dehiscent tan or yellow seedpod 5.1–7.6 cm (2.0–3.0 in) in length.[7]


Mexican Caesalpinia is cultivated as an ornamental because of its showy flowers, lush,[3] fine-textured foliage, and drought tolerance.[9]


C. mexicana is the host plant for the caterpillars of the Curve-winged Metalmark (Emesis emesia).[10]


  1. ^ "Caesalpinia mexicana A. Gray". TROPICOS. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  2. ^ "Caesalpinia mexicana A. Gray Mexican holdback". PLANTS Database. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  3. ^ a b c Nokes, Jill (2001). How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (2 ed.). University of Texas Press. pp. 151–152. ISBN 978-0-292-75573-4. 
  4. ^ "Mexican Caesalpinia, Mexican Poinciana". Benny Simpson's Texas Native Trees. Texas A&M University. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  5. ^ "Taxon: Caesalpinia mexicana A. Gray". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-08-28. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  6. ^ Little, Jr., Elbert L. (1976). Atlas of United States Trees. Volume 3, Minor Western Hardwoods. US Government Printing Office. Library of Congress No. 79-653298.  Map 27-N & Map 27-SW, Caesalpinia mexicana
  7. ^ a b c d Irish, Mary (2008). Trees and Shrubs for the Southwest: Woody Plants for Arid Gardens. Timber Press. pp. 141–142. ISBN 978-0-88192-905-8. 
  8. ^ a b Richardson, Alfred (1995). Plants of the Rio Grande Delta. University of Texas Press. pp. 103–104. ISBN 978-0-292-77070-6. 
  9. ^ Gilman, Edward F (October 1999). "Caesalpinia mexicana Mexican Caesalpinia" (PDF). IFAS Extension. University of Florida. Retrieved 2010-11-23. 
  10. ^ "Curve-winged Metalmark Emesis emesia (Hewitson, 1867)". Butterflies and Moths of North America. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 

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