Mexican buckeye

Ungnadia speciosa



Mexican buckeye is a large, deciduous shrub in the Soapberry Family that grows up to 30 feet tall. Its bark is gray to brown, thin, and smooth.

Its leaves are compound, alternate, and up to 1 foot long. Each leaf has 5 to 7 paired leaflets with a singular leaflet at the end. The leaves are shiny and dark green, fuzzy on the bottom, and turn bright yellow in the fall.

Mexican buckeye's flowers are bright pink. They grow in clusters and crowd on twigs before the new leaves emerge in the spring. In the fall its fruit, a 2 inch wide, three-chambered shell, matures. The seeds it holds are glossy, round, and dark-brown with a pale spot. When the seeds are mature the fruit will split open from the bottom.

Mexican buckeye is seldom browsed by livestock or deer.


Mexican buckeye is found in limestone soils in canyons and on creek banks from central Texas and west.