Choisya ternata

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Choisya ternata
Choisya Inflorescence FR 2013.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Choisya
C. ternata
Binomial name
Choisya ternata
  • Choisya grandiflora Regel
  • Juliania caryophillata La Llave & Lex.

Choisya ternata is a species of flowering plant in the family Rutaceae,[1] known as Mexican orange blossom or Mexican orange.


Choisya ternata is an evergreen shrub, growing up to 3 m (10 ft) in height. Its leaves have three leaflets (hence ternata) and are aromatic. The white flowers are scented, appearing in spring (sometimes with limited repeat flowering in autumn).[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Choisya ternata originates from Mexico. It is drought tolerant, preferring well drained soils.[2]


Choisya 'Aztec Pearl'

Choisya ternata is widely grown as an ornamental shrub in suitable climates. It tolerates temperatures down to −10 °C (14 °F) but is severely damaged by temperatures lower than −15 °C (5 °F). It responds well to pruning and shaping.[2]

In addition to the species, a number of cultivars are grown, including the golden-leaved C. ternata 'Lich' (usually sold under the name Sundance),[3] and the inter-specific hybrid C. 'Aztec Pearl' (C. dumosa var. arizonica × C. ternata).[4] The species and these two cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.


Many quinoline alkaloids have been isolated from leaves of C. ternata.[5] C. ternata contains an alkaloid (ternanthranin), a volatile simple anthranilate, that was shown to have pain-killing effects in mice.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "Choisya ternata", The Plant List, retrieved 2016-08-02
  2. ^ a b c Phillips, Roger & Rix, Martyn (1989), Shrubs, London: Pan Books, p. 35, ISBN 0-330-30258-2
  3. ^ "Choisya ternata Sundance = 'Lich' (PBR)", Plant Selector, Royal Horticultural Society, archived from the original on 2012-12-24, retrieved 2016-08-02
  4. ^ "Choisya × dewitteana 'Aztec Pearl'", Plant Selector, Royal Horticultural Society, archived from the original on 2012-12-24, retrieved 2016-08-02
  5. ^ Boyd, D.R.; Sharma, N.D.; Loke, P.L.; Malone, J.F.; McRoberts, W.C. & Hamilton, J.T.G. (2007), "Synthesis, structure and stereochemistry of quinoline alkaloids from Choisya ternata", Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, 5 (18): 2983–91, doi:10.1039/b707576f, PMID 17728865
  6. ^ Radulović, N.S.; Miltojević, A.B.; McDermott, M.; Waldren, S.; Parnell, J.A.; Pinheiro, M.M.; Fernandes, P.D. & de Sousa Menezes, F. (2011), "Identification of a new antinociceptive alkaloid isopropyl N-methylanthranilate from the essential oil of Choisya ternata Kunth.", Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 135 (3): 610–619, doi:10.1016/j.jep.2011.03.035, hdl:2262/55877, PMID 21420481