Porleria angustifolia

Soapbush, Ironwood, Texas Lignum-vitae

About This Plant

Sun or partial shade, often found growing in thickets of Southwest Texas. Its leaves appear to grow straight out of the branches, giving it a narrow upright form even in its wild state. In the heat of the day the leaves fold inward to preserve moisture. In Bexar County, it can be found as far east as Salado Creek, but it’s more common to the southwest. Its Methuselah-like form and southwest Texas bonafides attract interest from plant aficionados and ranchers alike. Its wood is useful for fence posts, as it’s the hardest in the U.S. Preserve guayacan if you have it on-site, as it’s only available from the most dedicated native growers. It would make a very interesting native hedge in South Texas brushlands.

Origins: Northeastern Mexico and Southwest Texas


None required, though brush sculptors may be tempted to shape it.

A Methuselah among South Texas native shrubs, with evergreen leaves and an unmistakable craggy form.

Min. Height: 4'

Max Height: 20 feet'

Min. Width: 4'

Max Width: 15 feet'

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