Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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."

 

More Trees Questions

Pine trees for West Virginia
August 16, 2009 - I have two acres in the Canaan Valley, West Va. and would like to plant pine trees. What type would you recommend that the deers won't eat and the cold climate won't kill.
view the full question and answer

Trees for pool area in Solano County, California
June 02, 2010 - We are looking for trees we can plant with non-invasive roots near our pool. We don't want them to get too big (about 10 feet) because we don't want them to shade out our pool. We also don't want...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Privacy Hedge for Long Island
June 29, 2012 - I live on Long Island and want a privacy evergreen hedge partial sun.
view the full question and answer

Is it safe to burn Cedar in a fireplace?
December 04, 2014 - Is it safe to burn Cedar in our fireplace? I'm trying to thin out the population of Ashe Junipers on my property in Spicewood Tx. to give the young Live Oaks a chance to compete for sunlight and w...
view the full question and answer

Thuja arborvitae not thriving in Austin
November 04, 2010 - I planted 5 giant thuja arborvitae two years ago. They have grown six inches and aren't doing that well. I live in Austin Texas and it was a hot summer. I water them 2x a week, now 1x a week. They a...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.