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Northington, David K.
Acacia angustissima (P. Mill.) Kuntze
Prairie acacia, Fern acacia, Prairie wattle, Whiteball acacia
Synonyms: Acacia angustissima var. hirta, Acacia hirta, Acacia angustissima var. texensis, Acacia texensis
USDA Symbol: ACAN
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Prairie wattle or fern acacia is a 1-4 ft., rounded sub-shrub with feathery, deciduous foliage and white, 1/2 in., globe-shaped flower heads on long, upper axillary stalks. This shrub’s thornless stems are graceful and wand-like. Round masses of creamy white or salmon-colored flowers resembling shaving brushes, rising on slender stalks from the axils of compound leaves. This attractive native legume has seeds that are rich in protein; the plant is readily eaten by livestock and decreases in abundance with heavy grazing. The species name, meaning most narrow in Latin, refers to the nature of the leaflets. This species resembles the taller Prairie Mimosa (Desmanthus illinoensis), also a native perennial with doubly pinnately compound leaves, but not a woody shrub.
The foliage of fern acacia is more impressive than its flowers. The thornless plant makes a good ground cover, colonizing by means of woody rhizomes. Form is variable. After the first hard frost, fern acacia dies to the ground.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
AR , AZ , FL , KS , LA , MO , NM , OK , TX Native Distribution:
Missouri and Kansas south to Mexico, east to Louisiana, west to New Mexico Native Habitat:
Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs, Woodlands edge, Hillsides, Slopes, High elevation USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, Limestone-based, Calcareous;
Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay; Well-drained
BenefitUse Ornamental: A thornless acacia with lacy foliage for use as a ground cover and in prairie restorations.
Use Wildlife: Flowers attract butterflies.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Nectar Source: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds , Softwood Cuttings
Description: Propagate by scarified seed or softwood cuttings.
Seed Collection: Collect in late summer to early fall when seeds are firm, filled out, and dark brown.
Seed Treatment: Scarification.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: To look its best, may require waterings during droughts.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Wispy plant to put behind a waterfall
May 30, 2008
Needing a 10-20ft wispy ______ to plant behind our waterfall to help block out road noise. We live in Austin.
I've looked at the Mexican weeping bamboo but are there other options?
view the full question and answer
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Record Modified: 2012-09-17
Research By: TWC Staff