Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Acacia farnesiana


Huisache, Sweet acacia, Mealy wattle


Fabaceae (Pea Family)



Acacia farnesiana (Huisache)
Page, Lee
A 15-20 ft., multi-trunked tree or shrub. Branchlets spiny and bearing finely divided leaves, each of the many leaflets less than 1/4 inch long. The bipinnately compound foliage is light-green and ferny. Small, fragrant, orange-yellow flowers 1/2 inch in diameter cluster in globose heads with many protruding stamens per flower. Fruit a reddish brown to black woody pod 1 1/2 to 3 inches long, rounded, not flat, and tapered at both ends.

The common name, Huisache, is derived from Nahuatl and means many thorns. In southern Europe this species is extensively planted for the flowers, which are a perfume ingredient.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Bipinnate
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Acute
Leaf Base: Oblique
Size Notes: Height 15-25 feet, Spread 15 to 25 feet.
Leaf: green to gray-green
Flower: Flower 3/8 inch. Sepals 5
Fruit: Green, Brown, Black 3-8 cm
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Orange , Yellow
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr

Distribution

USA: AL , AZ , CA , FL , GA , HI , LA , MS , NM , TX
Native Distribution: FL to s. CA (possibly introduced) & Mex.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: Acacia fernesiana can form dense thickets from suckers. It has small, fragrant, orange-yellow flowers cluster in globose heads. But blooms so early that buds are often ruined by frost in the northern parts of its range. Acacia beetles can girdle limbs up to 3 in. across. Alkaline tolerant. This beautiful tree casts a soft filtered light but be careful when planting it, because it has sharp thorns on the trunk and branches.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Aromatic
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: Minimal

Last Update: 2013-08-18