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

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

Allowing oak leaves to pile up at base of tree from San Jose CA
December 26, 2010 - Greetings, Is it a good idea to allow oak leaves to pile up at the base of our California live oak? Will that cause fungus, mold and rot that hurts the tree? Thanks for your advice.
view the full question and answer

Problem with leaves of Texas Ash in Austin
May 21, 2012 - We purchased a 3' to 4' Texas Ash in March 2012. The past few days I noticed new leaves at the top are curled under, have a milky substance on them, and more than a few ladybugs on them. What is thi...
view the full question and answer

Source for Hickory in Texas
March 25, 2015 - I'm looking for a nursery in Texas that sells hickory trees. I've used your supplier links and gone through many, many websites of suppliers. However, the only nut tree anyone sells is pecan. I'...
view the full question and answer

Galls on live oak tree in Austin
December 12, 2013 - I live in Austin, and have a 13 year old live oak in my yard. It has developed little spheres, kind of like green peas, on the underside of the leaves. What is it? Is it harmful? Is there somethin...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center