En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - April 04, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Spring blooming Acacia farnsiana in Austin
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I've been seeing a large shrub, possibly tree, around Austin this spring - and it is covered is small ball-like orangish-yellow blooms - very tightly covered in these blooms. From the car, it looks sort of like a retama type form, but smaller leafed and a tighter, thicker growth habit. Is it somethingi native or an invasive species. I've seen it at the hike and bike trail and just around town.

ANSWER:

The plant you are seeing is Huisache Acacia farnesiana (sweet acacia), a member of the pea family (Fabaceae) which is distributed in the US across the contiguous southern states from Florida to California, and into Mexico. It is described as a tree/ shrub growing to 15-20 feet.

The Retama, Parkinsonia aculeata (Jerusalem thorn), that you mention is also a member of the pea family with yellow flowers, but as you can see from the pictures, the structure of the flowers and stems is different.

 

From the Image Gallery


Huisache
Acacia farnesiana

Huisache
Acacia farnesiana

Retama
Parkinsonia aculeata

More Trees Questions

Problem with flameleaf sumac (Rhus lanceolatta)
July 14, 2008 - My Flameleaf Sumac appears to have an insect infestation in the bark which oozes a sappy sticky substance. This has apparently caused one of the limbs to die. Will it kill the whole plant and is there...
view the full question and answer

Water requirements for fruit trees in California
January 15, 2013 - Dear Sir; In which of these options (fruit trees) the need for watering in irrigation process is higher than the others: -Olive tree -Nectarines and peaches trees -Hazelnut trees -Pistachios and ...
view the full question and answer

Texas wild olive tree
April 05, 2012 - I live in the Phoenix area. My Texas wild olive (Cordia boissieri) is about 5 years old, about 12 feet tall and has beautiful blossoms all year long. However, this past year (through all seasons...
view the full question and answer

Hill Country natives for a hedge
June 01, 2006 - Can you recommend a "hedge type" bush to use in lieu of a fence along the road in the San Antonio region? My whole back yard is planted with Hill Country natives and I would prefer to keep the the...
view the full question and answer

Trees starting to die in subdivision in Hutto, TX
May 31, 2012 - I live in Hutto Tx, in a subdivision where everyone has the 2 trees planted in the front yard. My trees have started to die, and I want to find out what kind they are to find a solution
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center