Choisya ternata
Common name: 
Mexican Orange
CHOIZ-e-a ter-NA-ta
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf evergreen shrub, 5-8 ft (1.5-2.4 m), dense and rounded.  Leaves opposite, palmately compound, 3 leaflets (ternata = in threes), each 2.5-7.5 cm long, glossy, sessile, rounded, lustrous green, when crushed they emit a pungent odor.  Flowers fragrant, white, (each ca. 2.5 cm wide) in 3-6 flowered-clusters (corymbs) at end of shoots.  Blooms for an extended period.
  • Sun.  Well-drained, acid, moist soil.  The Sunset Western Garden Book states that Choisya tenata is “prone to root rot and crown rot if drainage is poor”.   In the Pacific Northwest an established plant does not need summer water.
  • The cultivar ‘Sundance’ has golden yellow foliage and grows at a slower rate.  A few other cultivars are mentioned in the woody plant literature but they rather difficult to locate in US commerce.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 7  It is native to the southwestern U.S. (Texas, New Mexico and Arizona) and most of Mexico.
  • Choisya:  in honor of Jacques Denis Choisy (1799-1859), a Swiss Protestant clergyman, botanist, and professor of philosophy at Geneva.     ternata: in clusters of three, a reference to the three leaflets per leaf
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: on the west side of the south entrance to Dearborn on Campus Way.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • leaves


  • plant habit, flowering

    plant habit, flowering

  • flowering branches

    flowering branches

  • flowers and leaves

    flowers and leaves

  • flowers


  • developing fruit

    developing fruit