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Tuesday - November 17, 2015

From: Naquabo, Puerto Ric
Region: Other
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Thorn bushes for a fence in Puerto Rico
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm looking for thorn bushes that grow in Puerto Rico. Want to use as fence to keep wild life in. Thanks, at least 5 ft tall so dogs can't get out.

ANSWER:

In a publication from the USDA Forest Service edited by John K. Francis "Wildland Shrubs of the United States and Its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions: Volume 1" General Technical Report IITF-GTR-26, July 2004, I found these thorny shrubs/trees that are native to Puerto Rico and could potentially serve as a living fence for you.

Acacia farnesiana (Huisache) [synonym = Vachellia farnesiana (Sweet acacia)] is native to Puerto Rico and you can find a description of it in the above publication "Wildland Shrubs..." on pp. 14-15.

Senegalia westiana (Zarza brava or Catch and keep) [synonym = Acacia retusa] is native to Puerto Rico and you can find a description of it in the above publication "Wildland Shrubs..." on pp. 19-20.

Acacia tortuosa (Huisachillo or twisted acacia) [synonym = Vachellia tortuosa (Poponax)] is native to Puerto Rico and you can find a description of it in the above publication "Wildland Shrubs..." on pp. 21-22.

Agave missionum (Corita) is native to Puerto Rico and you can find a description of it in the above publication "Wildland Shrubs..." on pp. 34-35.

Mimosa ceratonia (Zarza or Black ambret) is native to Puerto Rico and you can find a description of it in "Wildland Shrubs..." on pp. 487-488.  Of all the plant species listed above this one seems to have the greatest potential to serve you needs.  Here is a quote from p. 488 of the "Wildland Shrubs...":

"Thickets and tangles of zarza are almost impenetrable to humans. Paths may be cut to allow passage, but they soon grow over. Because of the thorns, cattle will not eat zarza ... , but it is browsed by goats. ... Zarza is a valuable honey plant ... , protects the soil, and serves as wildlife cover."

 

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