Virginia Tech Dendrology

mescal bean Fabaceae Sophora secundiflora (Ortega) Lag. ex DC. Listen to the Latin symbol: SOSE3
Leaf: Alternate, evergreen, pinnately compound, 4 to 6 inches long, 5 to 9 oval to elliptical leathery leaflets (each 1 1/2 to 3 inches long), shiny green above.
Flower: Very showy, purple pea-like flowers (1 inch across) in terminal elongated (2 to 5 inch) clusters, fragrant appearing in early spring.
Fruit: Legume, light brown, woody with a fuzzy surface, 2 to 4 inches long, containing 1 to 5 reddish brown hard seeds, a bit constricted between seeds, ripens in summer.
Twig: Moderately stout, olive green, gray velvety or fuzzy; buds small and gray fuzzy.
Bark: Gray-brown, split and fissured with rough, loose, shreddy strips.
Form: Ranges in size from a shrub to a small tree up to 25 feet with upright branches.
Looks like: Texas sophora
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Sophora secundiflora is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting mescal bean.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson