Colleen Curran Hook, Executive Director of Quinta Mazatlán
Seen throughout South Texas, the Retama is truly a stunning tree. At Quinta Mazatlán we describe it as a “Tree of Life” providing food and shelter to many a wild creature. In addition, the Retama can live on 12 inches of rain a year, a true native survivor in the Rio Grande Valley.
In the spring, the tree is covered in yellow flowers, and will bloom into the summer months. The flowers are unique in that they have five petals each, four yellow and one orange. The orange petal is known as the honey petal, providing nectar for bees and butterflies.
The Retama, Parkinsonia aculeata, is nicknamed the “broom tree” as it has long slender stems with tiny leaflets. As a Thorn Forest native, it has many thorns to protect itself from animals that could cause damage. As a homeowner, I recommend planting the tree in a wildscaped corner of your lot, away from playing children. The Retama tree can reach up to 31’ tall and is sure to attract hummingbirds and many other singing birds to your yard.
In a land of extremes, the Retama is a prize-winning tree in the Thorn Forest. It is drought resistant, wildlife friendly and stunning to view in our South Texas landscape.
A great poet, Pablo Neruda, once said, “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming”. In a time of uncertainty, it is good to know the Retama tree keeps blooming and invites us out into Nature to rediscover the importance of family. Please follow Quinta Mazatlán on FB and other social media platforms to learn more about our natural heritage in the Rio Grande Valley.