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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Vachellia constricta (Whitethorn acacia)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Vachellia constricta

Vachellia constricta (Benth.) Seigler & Ebinger

Whitethorn Acacia, White-thorn Acacia, Mescat Acacia, Mescat Wattle, Whitethorn, Vara Prieta, Chaparro Prieto

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Acacia constricta, Acacia constricta var. constricta, Acacia constricta var. paucispina

USDA Symbol: VACO9

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A 9-15 ft., multi-trunked tree with small, yellow-orange balls of fragrant flowers and finely segmented, pinnate leaves which fall off during dry seasons. Long spines on older growth. 2-4 in. beans ripen to bright red. Winter branches are purplish-colored. Mescat Wattle, or Whitethorn, is found in the wild without thorns, so a thornless selection is possible.


From the Image Gallery

6 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 15 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Flower: Flowers in 1/2 inch globes
Fruit: Red 2 inch beans

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug


Native Distribution: TX to AZ & Mex.
Native Habitat: Flat desert areas, High elevation. Dry slopes; washes; mesas.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Sandy, Caliche type, Sandy Loam, limestone soil.
Conditions Comments: Whitethorn is found in the wild without thorns, so a thornless selection is possible. Form is variable.


Use Ornamental: Attractive, Blooms ornamental, Fruits ornamental
Use Wildlife: Nectar-insects, Nectar-butterflies, Nectar-bees, Browse, Seeds-granivorous birds
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Increase using untreated seed or by root division.
Seed Collection: Late summer to early fall when seeds are firm, filled out, and dark brown

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


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.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 1 - Texas Native Shrubs (2002) Texas A&M University Agriculture Program and Leslie Finical, Dallas Arboretum

Additional resources

USDA: Find Vachellia constricta in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Vachellia constricta in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Vachellia constricta


Record Modified: 2012-09-17
Research By: TWC Staff

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