Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Monday - July 26, 2010

From: Ponder, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Does goldenball leadtree (Leucaena retusa) have thorns?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a plant that I am told is a native Texas plant, but the person I got it from could not remember its name. They said it was very hardy and drought tolerant. It looks a little like goldenball lead tree, but it has a few thorns. Do leadball trees have thorns?

ANSWER:

The only reference I could find that says Leucaena retusa (goldenball leadtree) has thorns is from the University of Florida IFAS Extension, but then another publication from the University of Florida says it has NO thorns.  I think that the first one that says it has thorns is a mistake.  I think that they just left the "no" out of the text.

Perhaps the plant is Acacia farnesiana (sweet acacia).  Its leaves look like those of the goldenball leadtree (although smaller), it has yellow blossoms that are similar and it does have thorns.

If you don't think that this is the tree you have, send us photos and we will do our best to identify it.   Please visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Leucaena retusa

Leucaena retusa

Acacia farnesiana

Acacia farnesiana

 


 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of Sagittaria-like plant with purple flowers
July 21, 2011 - I have collected a wetland plant that I can't seem to identify. Its an emergent plant collected along with a species of sagittaria. Very similar in leaf structure to an sagittaria or alisima, but i...
view the full question and answer

Identity of Dalea plant
April 03, 2013 - While in Austin recently (I live in Dallas), I visited Jardinero on Cesar Chavez and purchased a shrub identified only as "Dalea". It is 3-4 feet tall, upright habit, typical tiny pea family foliag...
view the full question and answer

Possible cinnamon-scented plants in Mississippi delta
July 11, 2005 - I used to live in Mississippi and now live in Illinois. I am trying to find what plant or tree has a strong cinnamon-like scent that fills the air. I noticed this scent driving through the delta in Mi...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of tree on Kent State University in Ohio
August 09, 2011 - Hello. I am fond of a very large (wide) tree on a university campus in Ohio. I have tried many plant ID search engines to try to figure out what it is. It is at least 12 feet tall and at least that ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of vine with orangish flowers
July 09, 2014 - I am looking to ID what I believe is a vine growing plant that blooms orangish flowers. I have pictures of the plant, and have attempted to use multiple plant ID websites. But have been unsuccessful. ...
view the full question and answer

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