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

Plant identification for Redding, CA
August 11, 2012 - I have a volunteer plant that has dull green leaf with tiny white flowers that turn into a small black berry the size of a raisin. Can you identify it? I live in Redding, Ca. They are popping up in th...
view the full question and answer

Help with plant identification.
September 01, 2008 - We need help identifying a perennial in our backyard, which we assume is a native/wildflower, but might not be. It has yellow flowers with 5/6 petals (delicatea, starlike/about 1-1.5 inches across) a...
view the full question and answer

Mystery tree with yellow fruit in MN
November 12, 2012 - There is a tree at my workplace, about 8' tall, with small, pea-sized yellow berries right now (Oct. 2012). The berries are attractive to Cedar Waxwings, and the tree has small leaves that are simple...
view the full question and answer

Plant identfication
August 16, 2009 - We live in a forested area in Rockmart,GA. There is a creek in the woods and a lily type plant that only flowers occasionally. It is white in the center and has thin white spires that jut out from t...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant in Kentucky with fuzzy grayish-green leaves
September 03, 2012 - I would like to know about a plant that I do not know what it is. I had this plant just come up in my flowerbed, that looked like a tobacco plant but the leaves looked like a lambs ear plant. It was ...
view the full question and answer

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