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
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
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 InformationBloom Color: Orange , Yellow
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr
DistributionUSA: AL , AZ , CA , FL , GA , HI , LA , MS , NM , TX
Native Distribution: FL to s. CA (possibly introduced) & Mex.
Growing ConditionsWater 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.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Aromatic
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: Minimal
PropagationPropagation 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.
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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?
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording 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 DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
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 BankLBJWC-1304 Collected 2009-07-02 in Val Verde County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 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
Research LiteratureReslit 235 - Growth analysis of nine multipurpose woody legumes native from southern Mexico (1998) V. Cervantes, V. Arriaga, J. Meave and J. Carabias
Reslit 236 - Seed germination of woody legumes from deciduous tropical forest of southern Mexico (1996) V. Cervantes, J. Carabias and C. VazquezYanes
Reslit 461 - Seed morphology and ultrastructure of eight native shrubs and trees of northeastern Mexico (2000) R. Foroughbakhch, M. Rodriguez, R. K. Maiti, J. L....
Reslit 460 - Techniques of germination and growth potential of some fuelwood species in northeastern Mexico (2000) R. Foroughbakhch, L. A. Hauad, R. K. Maiti, M. Rod...
Reslit 309 - Survival of Sprouting Shrubs Following Summer Fire: Effects of Morphological and Spatial Characteristics (2009) E. C. Dacy and T. E. Fulbright
Reslit 814 - Germination of 151-year old Acacia spp. seeds (2010) M. W. Leino and J. Edqvist
Reslit 960 - A Comparative Study of the Effects of Fluctuations in Temperature and Moisture Supply on Hard Coat Dormancy in Seeds of Coastal Tropical Legumes in Mexico (1994) P. Moreno-Casasola, J. P. Grime and M. L. Martinez
Reslit 1148 - The effect of hardening on the salinity tolerance of Acacia seeds (1998) S. Rehman, P. J. C. Harris and W. F. Bourne
Reslit 1149 - The effect of sodium chloride on germination and the potassium and calcium contents of Acacia seeds (1997) S. Rehman, P. J. C. Harris, W. F. Bourne and J. Wi...
Reslit 1150 - The relationship between ions, vigour and salinity tolerance of Acacia seeds (2000) S. Rehman, P. J. C. Harris, W. F. Bourne and J. Wi...
This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Acacia farnesiana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Acacia farnesiana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Acacia farnesiana
MetadataRecord Modified: 2015-05-29
Research By: TWC Staff