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Mr. Smarty Plants - Smarty Plants on Parkinsonia aculeata

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Saturday - June 11, 2005

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Smarty Plants on Parkinsonia aculeata
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What is the name of the tall shrub I see growing wild around Austin that is delicate, with thin stems and branches, and lacy, with multiple leaves, and yellow flowers? It looks lovely growing in a mass on the south slope of Barton Creek Mall. Someone told me it is huisache, but I find out now it is not. Have I given you enough information to know what I am talking about? Thanks so much.

ANSWER:

What you have seen is Retama (Parkinsonia aculeata). Some of its other common names are Paloverde, Crown-of-thorns, Jerusalem-thorn, and others. You can read a really good description of it in Robert A. Vines "Trees of Central Texas", 1984. Austin: University of Texas Press, which you might find at your local library. Here are some other web sites that describe the plant: Floridata Marketplace and TAMU Aggie Horticulture.
 

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