The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
San Antonio Botanical Garden
The conservation of Ayenia limitaris is fully sponsored.
Cindy Barrett contributed to this Plant Profile.
Ayenia limitaris is a 2-5 foot tall perennial herb/shrub with soft heart-shaped leaves. It belongs to the Sterculiaceae or Cacao family of plants. Cocoa and chocolate are derived from the seeds of the tropical American tree, Theobroma cacao L. (Correll and Johnston 1996).
Like many of the South Texas endangered species, Ayenia limitaris' main threat is habitat destruction. This species once occurred in a subtropical riparian woodland that was found on the delta of the Rio Grande River. Today, less than 5% of this original habitat remains in small, isolated patches along fence rows, highway rights-of-way, canals, and ditch banks. Many activities have led to this, including conversion to agricultural fields, invasion of exotic grasses, herbicides, cattle grazing and stamping and over-collection are also many of this plants problems. (Correll and Johnston 1996; Texas Parks and Wildlife 2002b).
Distribution & Occurrence
Found on terraces and floodplains in dense, subtropical woodlands in sandy, clay-loam soils of the Rio Grande Valley in the Brownsville area. (Correll and Johnston 1996; Texas Parks and Wildlife 2002b).
|Exists in the United States in only one population containing approximately 20 individuals in Hidalgo county, Texas. Also found in the state of Tamaulipas in Mexico. (Texas Parks and Wildlife 2002b)|
Conservation, Ecology & Research
Small genetic pool
Habitat destruction due to development
Introduction of non-native pasture grasses
Herbicides used on pastures
Irrigation, flood control, dam construction, water pollution, water quality degradation
Everitt, J.H.; Drawe, D.L. 1993. Trees, shrubs and cacti of south Texas. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. 213p.
Vines, R.A. 1960. Trees, shrubs and woody vines of the southwest. Austin: University of Texas Press. 1104p.