Eve’s necklace (Styphnolobium affine), a member of the pea family, is available in just a small part of the country. The tree or shrub, depending on how you prune and grow it, is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 9, a small area as it is. The tree is native too and grown in Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
The plant grows from 15 to30 feet tall and 20 feet wide with light green, oval shaped leaves up to 9 inches long and fragrant, white- pink flowers that bloom in March and April. The red-brown bark adds to the color pallet as well. The flowers are followed by black seeds growing in a string and it is this feature that gives the plant its common name.
Plant Eve’s necklace in full sun, partial shade or full shade and a dry soil. The plant is best used as a specimen plant where it does not get overshadowed by larger trees. Bees will come for the nectar, but it is not top on the deer’s list of favorite meals. The tree has one very big plus on its side. It is relatively pest and disease free.
The tree is propogated buy seed, but you have put some work into it if you want to produce a new crop. The seeds have to be scarified, which simple means you have to use a file or knife to score the outside of the seed. Collect the pods from the tree when they begin to dry and the seeds are still red. Soak the pods in warm water to soften them up. Remove the seeds from the pods, put them in plastic sip close bags or plastic containers and keep them in a cool place. Do the scoring and plant them in the ground in the spring after the soil has warmed up.
Eve’s necklace is a tree for gardeners who want plants different than their neighbors. It is commercially available within its area, but you may have to shop around before you find it. At least it is something to look into when you are planing a new garden or replacing a tree that just does not fit. You don’t need a large property or a large front lawn, so you should be able to find a place where the tree will thrive and you can enjoy it.
University of Florida
University of Texas
University of Texas