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

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
September 04, 2010 - Please identify this tree: has leaves like a catalpa, blue/lavender flowers on a long flower spike at the end of the limb, green fruit/seed about the size of a pecan it is fuzzy like a peach with a h...
view the full question and answer

Bulbs named exotica
September 01, 2008 - When I purchased some seed from a catalog I received some free bulbs called exotica which I planted.They have long green stems. I don't know what they are or what to do with them. Can I plant them ou...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID in Champaign IL
May 23, 2009 - I am in search of the name of a flower. It is tall, believe on a single stem, if you ever have been in Champaign, Il it grows along the interstate near the overpasses, very pretty purple flowers. I ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
December 24, 2007 - I have a question about a plant that looks like a fern that has small red looking flowers and has thorns. Also it is very small (probably 2-3 inches tall). I'm just wondering what it is cause it grow...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
October 20, 2010 - Need to identify multi branched plant, feathery appearance, approx 6' tall stalks, grows in clusters. Tiny whitish/pink flowers at top of stems. Very similar in appearance to milfoil, only these grow...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center