En Español

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

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

Impenetrable privacy hedge in Wimberly, TX.
July 26, 2011 - I live near Wimberly, TX. I'd like to grow an impenetrable privacy hedge about 200' long and at least 10' tall and 10' deep (or more) using native plants. I'd like it to be evergreen, drought t...
view the full question and answer

Problems with pin oak in Manlius, NY
June 20, 2009 - I bought a pin oak when it was ~5 ft tall. It has lived in clay/rock for the last 6 years--healthy, but didn't grow much (no surprise). This spring we planted 3 small boxwoods a few feet from its t...
view the full question and answer

Watering a Chinquapin Oak in Austin, TX
June 22, 2014 - I have a question about watering. I planted a Chinquapin Oak about 7 months ago and it's about 8 feet tall and doing well. I water it weekly on a slow drip for about an hour. I expect that my job is ...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Screen for Heavy Clay and Full Sun in Louisiana
April 19, 2013 - What would be a fast-growing plant for privacy in Louisiana? I have heavy clay and full sun.
view the full question and answer

Disappearance of leaves on desert willow in Tucson AZ
August 08, 2009 - We have a Lois Adams Desert Willow (Tucson, Az). The leaves will pump out and then a day or so later, all of the leaves are gone. The only bugs we've seen on it are very, very small ants. Could this ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center