Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - July 26, 2010

From: Ponder, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Does goldenball leadtree (Leucaena retusa) have thorns?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a plant that I am told is a native Texas plant, but the person I got it from could not remember its name. They said it was very hardy and drought tolerant. It looks a little like goldenball lead tree, but it has a few thorns. Do leadball trees have thorns?

ANSWER:

The only reference I could find that says Leucaena retusa (goldenball leadtree) has thorns is from the University of Florida IFAS Extension, but then another publication from the University of Florida says it has NO thorns.  I think that the first one that says it has thorns is a mistake.  I think that they just left the "no" out of the text.

Perhaps the plant is Acacia farnesiana (sweet acacia).  Its leaves look like those of the goldenball leadtree (although smaller), it has yellow blossoms that are similar and it does have thorns.

If you don't think that this is the tree you have, send us photos and we will do our best to identify it.   Please visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Leucaena retusa

Leucaena retusa

Acacia farnesiana

Acacia farnesiana

 


 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of a vine with purple flowers
July 06, 2011 - I'm trying to identify a vine-like plant growing in my yard to determine if it is a weed or should be kept around. It has small purple flowers with a small yellow center, looking like a mini honeysuc...
view the full question and answer

How to distinguish white-flowered Baptisias?
June 07, 2010 - How can I tell the difference between Baptisia alba and Baptisia alba var. macrophylla
view the full question and answer

Identification of an Australian tree.
November 29, 2007 - i have a tree i cant seem to find any info on, the tree has large almost heart shaped leaves with pinkish veins running through them, its not shiney anywhere, sort of a mat finish,the edges of the lea...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
February 20, 2014 - I'm not sure of county of origin. It was given to me by someone I no longer have contact with. When I initially received it I thought it was just a small potted vine of some type. I've had it a yea...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
May 03, 2010 - I have a 50 ft tree in my front forest apartment in Lewisburg, TN garden, that is blooming white cluster flowers. They are slightly fragrant. I thought Carolina silverbell but they have NO yellow stam...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.