Size: Up to 15 feet (4.6 m) or more (20 feet - 6.1 m.)
Growth Form: Tahitian Kidneywood is a multi-stem large shrub or small tree; with many gray barked branches; woody, stems erect or spreading; without thorns.
Leaves: Tahitian Kidneywood has green or grayish-green leaves; the leaves are pinnatelycompound.
Flower Color: Tahitian Kidneywood has white, showy pea-like flowers that are fragrantly scented (vanilla-like); the fruit is an oblong 1-seeded flat pod containing 1 kidney shaped red-brown seed.
Flowering Season: April or May to August or September.
Elevation: 3,500 to 5,500 feet (1,067-1,676 m).
Habitat Preferences: Rocky hillsides, rocky- or gravelly-ridges, canyons and watercourses.
Recorded Range: Tahitian Kidneywood is relatively rare in the United States where it is found only in south eastern Arizona and southwest New Mexico. It is also native to the northern region of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range of eastern Sonora, and central Mexico.
Genus Information: In North America, USDA Plants Database lists 3 species for Eysenhardtia. Worldwide, World Flora Online includes 14 accepted species for the genus. The Plant List has 13 records for Eysenhardtia.
The genus was published in 1824 by Karl(Carl) Sigismund Kunth, (1788-1850)
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona and New Mexico each have 1 species of Eysenhardtia California, Nevada and Utah have 0 species. Data approximate, subject to revision.
Members of the genus Eysenhardtia are commonly known as Kidneywoods.
Comments: Tahitian Kidneywood is sometimes recommended as an ornamental in southern Arizona.
Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Tahitian Kidneywood, Eysenhardtia orthocarpa has fragrant showy flowers, the flowers, their seeds and plants may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals including rodents and granivorous birds in search of food, nectar and protection through cover.
Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Honey Bees and Insects
Tahitian Kidneywood, Eysenhardtia orthocarpa has attractive flowers, the flowers and their plants may be visited or used by butterflies, moths, flies, honeybees, native bees and other insects in search of nectar, food or shelter and protection.
The genus “Eysenhardtia” is named for Karl Wilhelm Eysenhardt (Carolus Guilielmus Eysenhardt) (1794-1825), German (Berlin) physician, zoologist, naturalist and botany professor.
The genus Eysenhardtia was published in 1824 by Karl (Carl) Sigismund Kunth, (1788-1850)
The species epithet “orthocarpa” (orthoca'rpus:) is from the Greek orthos, meaning "straight," and karpos, which means "fruit," thus "straight fruit, a reference to the shape of the pod."
The taxon Eysenhardtia orthocarpa was described in 1881-1882 by Sereno Watson, (1826-1892).
Ethnobotany - Native American Ethnobotany; University of Michigan - Dearborn