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

Sunday - March 23, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Trees
Title: Distinguish between Huisache and Goldenball Leadtree
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How do you distinguish between Huisache (Acacia farnesiana) and Goldenball Leadtree (Leucaena retusa)? Thanks!

ANSWER:

We found a couple websites that give very good descriptions of the structure of both, for similarities and differences. Acacia farnesiana (sweet acacia) is covered in this Forest Service Department of Agriculture article. Leucaena retusa (littleleaf leadtree) has information from the same source.

Similarities: Both have feathery, finely-divided leaflets, round, spreading, open crown, alternate bipinnately compound leaves, leaflet margin entire, venation pinnate, leaflet blade length less than 2", with no showy Fall color.

Differences: Acacia farnesiana (sweet acacia) is semi-evergreen, has slightly rough stems that are chocolate brown or gray, linear shape leaves, leaf color green, and thorns.

Leucaena retusa (littleleaf leadtree) is evergreen, has elliptic (oval) leaves, bark that is cinnamon-colored and flaky, leaf color blue-green to bright green and no thorns.

There are other differences in when and how each plant blooms, but I think the thorns are the clincher. Here is a page of images of the Huisache and a page of images of the Goldenball Leadtree.


Acacia farnesiana

Acacia farnesiana

Leucaena retusa

Leucaena retusa

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification.
May 23, 2009 - Looking for the name of a green, bamboo-like plant with narrow leaves. Have no pictures.
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant growing on deck
May 12, 2012 - I can't find the name of a plant that I had on my deck, it didn't come back this year. It was a bush like plant that grew wild, it bloomed May thru August with red small flowers. My deck gets full...
view the full question and answer

Identification of
July 23, 2007 - I'm trying to identify a plant and I'm having trouble doing so. The plant was called moss by my mother,but it looks like a succulent. It grows on the ground and looks like small vines with pink stem...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
May 11, 2008 - Can you identify a plant in a shady part of our yard. I have a pictrure I would like to send and I don't see a way to do that here. Can you provide that assistance? Perhaps a direct email address so ...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification from Ephrata PA
May 04, 2010 - I've come across a low plant with bright green leaves and a distinct burgundy on the leaf. I've been told it's called Throw Me Over The Fence, but I believe it must be called something else. I be...
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