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ACACIA farnesiana

Image of Acacia farnesiana

Audrey, Eve and George DeLange

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

ACACIA farnesiana

Plant Common Name

Sweet Acacia, Texas Huisache

General Description

The soft airy look of this small acacia leaves little clue to its adaptation to North America’s hottest desert climates. Its natural range extends from the American southwest into Mexico, then it has adjunct populations far south in Chile. It is one of the desert acacias that bear sharp thorns to protect themselves from browsing wildlife. The leaves are medium green, very small and fern like.

This tree blooms in early to mid spring with large pompon-like bright yellow flowers that are markedly fragrant. They may continue off and on througout the year. These are scattered evenly throughout the twiggy canopy. They provide a vital nectar source for honeybees, and the seed-filled pods that follow are quickly devoured by wildlife.

This small tree is preferred for courtyards and spaces where the larger palo verdes would be too overwhelming. Be wary of the thorns and locate plants away from areas frequented by children. It is a perfect choice for desert landscapes that interface with wild lands.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    15'-20' / 4.6m - 6.1m

  • Width

    15'-25' / 4.6m - 7.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring

  • Native To

    Southwestern United States, Mexico, Chile

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Bark Color

    Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes