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

Wednesday - March 21, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Trees
Title: Identity of flowering yellow trees in Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

There are numerous flowering yellow trees in my Austin neighborhood. Are they mesquite or goldenball lead trees? They are quite fragrant, like a new bar of soap.

ANSWER:

The trees you are seeing are probably Acacia farnesiana (Huisache).  It is possible that Leucaena retusa (Goldenball leadtree) is blooming, but they generally don't bloom until April.  This, however, has been an unusual year because of the very mild winter—many plants are blooming earlier than they normally do.  The flowers of the two look similar, but those of the goldenball lead tree tend to be about 2 cm. in diameter; while those of huisache are closer to 1 cm. in diameter.  The blooms of both trees are fragrant.  The huisache has thorns and the goldenball lead tree does not.  Prosopis glandulosa (Honey mesquite) is also blooming now but its flowers are a paler shade of yellow and have a different shape.  The leaves of all three trees are similar.

 

From the Image Gallery


Huisache
Acacia farnesiana

Huisache
Acacia farnesiana

Huisache
Acacia farnesiana

Huisache
Acacia farnesiana

Goldenball leadtree
Leucaena retusa

Goldenball leadtree
Leucaena retusa

Goldenball leadtree
Leucaena retusa

Goldenball leadtree
Leucaena retusa

Honey mesquite
Prosopis glandulosa

Honey mesquite
Prosopis glandulosa

Honey mesquite
Prosopis glandulosa

More Trees Questions

Why are branches falling from my pecan trees?
November 02, 2010 - I have tree branches falling that appear to have been cut, not broken,off the tree. Seen most on the pecan trees but had a young red bud die with what appears a clean cut of the trunk approx. 2 feet ...
view the full question and answer

Distinguishing elm species from volunteers in yard
April 10, 2008 - What's the best way to distinguish young elm tree species apart from one another? We have a bunch coming up in our yard and we're trying to figure out if they are Winged, Cedar or American. Some of ...
view the full question and answer

Huisaches in pots from Houston TX
May 20, 2012 - I have special (and probably weird) affinity to huisaches (acacia farnesiana). As a child I used to admire the three that elegantly guarded our backyard looking almost like fingers reaching for the s...
view the full question and answer

Sticky white substance from Arizona Ash tree in Arlington TX
June 11, 2009 - Our Arizona Ash Tree is producing a white substance that floats down from the tree almost like a snowflake the size of a bb. You cannot see it on the tree/leaves. When it lands on the car, it takes th...
view the full question and answer

Small native trees for northern Virginia
September 27, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for a native alternative to a Japanese Red Maple in northern Virginia. I would like a small tree that I can put in my front garden that will not pose a security risk my...
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