Calia secundiflora is a species of flowering shrub or small tree in the pea family, Fabaceae,[1] that is native to the southwestern United States (Texas, New Mexico) and Mexico (Chihuahua and Coahuila south to Hidalgo, Puebla and Queretaro). Common names include Texas Mountain Laurel, Texas Mescalbean, Frijolito, and Frijolillo.[1] It is an often-misunderstood plant, frequently confused with the Agave species used to make mezcal, as well as with Peyote (Lophophora williamsii), which contains mescaline.[2]

It is well-adapted to arid and semi-arid habitats but is most common in riparian zones.[1]

An evergreen, its leaves are pinnately-compound, with small, roughly spatulate leaflets; the leaflets are rather thick, and waxy to the touch Never tall, and rarely having a straight trunk, its bark is smooth in all but the oldest specimens.[3] It grows slowly to a height of 15 ft (4.6 m) and a crown diameter of 10 ft (3.0 m).[4]

Extremely fragrant purple flowers, resembling the smell of grape soda, are produced in large clusters in March and April. They are followed by 4 in (10 cm) pods containing deep orange seeds.[4]


C. secundiflora is a popular ornamental plant due to its showy flowers and orange seeds. The reddish wood it produces is potentially useful, but as yet has little commercial value.

Further adding to this is the fact that the beans were in fact once used by some native American tribes as a hallucinogen, before being supplanted by peyote. This plant does not contain any mescaline, however; all parts of it are highly poisonous, due to the principle alkaloid cytisine, which is chemically related to nicotine.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Uchytil, Ronald J. (1990). "Sophora secundiflora". Fire Effects Information System. United States Forest Service. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  2. "Mescal Bean & The Unrelated Peyote Cactus". Plants That Make You Loco. Wayne's World. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  3. "Sophora secundiflora Texas mountain laurel". Arid Plant List. Pima County Home Horticulture. 2004-05-16. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Mielke, Judy (1993). Native Plants for Southwestern Landscapes. University of Texas Press. p. 258. ISBN 9780292751477. 

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Calia secundiflora. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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