Leucaena retusa Benth.
Goldenball Leadtree, Littleleaf Leadtree, Little Leucaena, Lemonball, Wahoo Tree
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
USDA Symbol: LERE5
Deciduous, slender shrub or small tree with many showy balls of golden-yellow flowers throughout spring and summer. Little-leaf leadtree or goldenball leadtree is a small, multi-trunked tree or large shrub,12-15 ft. tall, which can reach 25 ft. Airy, light-green foliage occurs on brittle stems. Bark is flaky and cinnamon-colored. Sweet-smelling flowers occur in 1 in., yellow-orange globes and will appear after every rain from summer through fall.
This attractive, small tree is sometimes cultivated in warm regions for the showy yellow flowers and conspicuous pods. It is a good browse plant for cattle.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Bipinnate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: 12-24
Size Class: 12-36 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Native Distribution: In TX, Edwards Plateau w. to Davis & Chisos Mts., s. to n. Mex. in Chihuahua and Coahuila
Native Habitat: Rocky, limestone areas; dry canyons. Western Edwards Plateau. Well-drained loam, sand, clay, limestone, caliche.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Dry, rocky, limestone or igneous soils. Rocky, Limestone-based, Caliche type, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay.
Conditions Comments: Goldenball lead-tree is a gorgeous small tree that grows well in rocky soil. The yellow puffball flowers exude a sweet aroma. Its wood is rather weak and has been known to snap in strong winds. Open enough that sun-loving species can bloom underneath.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: Minimal
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Easily grown from fresh seed. Semi-hardwood cuttings in summer will root.
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
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
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-1097 Collected 2007-08-16 in Brewster County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
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 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.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Leucaena retusa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Leucaena retusa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Leucaena retusa
MetadataRecord Modified: 2019-06-19
Research By: TWC Staff