Acacia rigidula Benth.
Blackbrush acacia, Blackbrush, Catclaw, Chaparro prieto, Gavia
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
Synonym(s): Acacia amentacea
USDA Symbol: ACRI
Spiny, stiff-branched, thicket-forming shrub bearing numerous spikes of yellow flowers. Chaparro-prieto or blackbrush grows 5-15 ft. Prolific spikes of pale yellow, fragrant flowers are borne on the numerous stiff, thorny branches. The bark of this shrub is whitish in color. Its semi-evergreen leaves are dark-green, glossy and pinnately compound.
This Texas native is sometimes called Catclaw, thanks to its sharp, curved thorns.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Flower: Flowers in 2 inch spikes
Size Class: 6-12 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
Native Distribution: Rio Grande Plain to Austin and Big Bend; adjacent Mex.
Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs, Chaparral & brush country, Roadsides
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type, Dry sand or limestone.
Conditions Comments: Slow-growing but vigorous, blackbrush acacia suckers readily. These suckers can be removed at ground level. Pruning encourages dense branching and more flowers. This plant has been used both as an ornamental and for erosion control.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Aromatic, Showy, Long-living, Erosion control, Blooms ornamental. This plant is used in rock gardens, landscapes, or xeriscapes.
Use Wildlife: Flowers are a source of honey. Nectar-bees, Nectar-butterflies, Nectar-moths, Nectar-insects, Seeds-granivorous birds, Browsed by deer.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagation is possible with untreated or treated seed.
Seed Collection: Late summer to early fall when seeds are firm, filled out, and dark brown
Seed Treatment: Soaking seeds in concentrated sulfuric acid for 30 minutes has shown to enhance germination.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-MLE-14 Collected 2010-06-07 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 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.
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Recommended Species Lists
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Acacia rigidula in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Acacia rigidula in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Acacia rigidula
MetadataRecord Modified: 2008-10-31
Research By: TWC Staff