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Acacia farnesiana (Huisache)
Page, Lee

Acacia farnesiana

Acacia farnesiana (L.) Willd.

Huisache, Sweet acacia, Mealy wattle

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Acacia farnesiana var. farnesiana, Acacia minuta, Acacia minuta ssp. densiflora, Acacia smallii, Mimosa farnesiana, Pithecellobium minutum, Vachellia densiflora, Vachellia farnesiana

USDA Symbol: ACFA

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I), PR (N), VI (N)

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.

 

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

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds
Seed Collection: May be stored in cold for one year.
Seed Treatment: Scarification.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Requires pruning to develop strong structure.

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

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACU FACU FACU FACU UPL FACU
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Native Plant Nursery - Sanibel, FL
Hill Country Natives - Leander, TX
Far South Wholesale Nursery - Austin, TX

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0316 Collected Mar 31, 1993 in Comal County by Mary Beth White

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1304 Collected 2013-07-03 in Val Verde County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Bibliography

Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 297 - Trees of Central Texas (1984) Vines, Robert A.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Acacia farnesiana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Acacia farnesiana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Acacia farnesiana

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2013-08-18
Research By: TWC Staff

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