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Vachellia farnesiana (Huisache)
Page, Lee

Vachellia farnesiana

Vachellia farnesiana (L.) Wight & Arn.

Huisache, Texas Huisache, Sweet Acacia, Perfume Acacia, Mealy Acacia, Mealy Wattle, Cassie

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Acacia farnesiana, Acacia farnesiana var. farnesiana, Acacia minuta, Acacia minuta ssp. densiflora, Acacia smallii, Mimosa farnesiana, Pithecellobium minutum, Vachellia densiflora


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I), PR (N), VI (N)

A 15-20 ft., multi-trunked tree or shrub. Branchlets spiny and bearing finely divided leaves, each of the many leaflets less than 1/4 inch long. The bipinnately compound foliage is light-green and ferny. Small, fragrant, orange-yellow flowers 1/2 inch in diameter cluster in globose heads with many protruding stamens per flower. Fruit a reddish brown to black woody pod 1 1/2 to 3 inches long, rounded, not flat, and tapered at both ends.

The common name, Huisache, is derived from Nahuatl and means "many thorns". In southern Europe this species is extensively planted for the flowers, which are a perfume ingredient.


From the Image Gallery

55 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Bipinnate
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Acute
Leaf Base: Oblique
Size Notes: Height 15-25 feet, Spread 15 to 25 feet.
Leaf: green to gray-green
Flower: Flower 3/8 inch. Sepals 5
Fruit: Green, Brown, Black 3-8 cm
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Orange , Yellow
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr


USA: AL , AZ , CA , FL , GA , LA , MS , NM , TX
Native Distribution: Southern North America from southern California east to southern Florida, south through Mexico and Central America to northern South America. In Texas, mostly in central and south Texas.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: Acacia fernesiana can form dense thickets from suckers. It has small, fragrant, orange-yellow flowers cluster in globose heads. But blooms so early that buds are often ruined by frost in the northern parts of its range. Acacia beetles can girdle limbs up to 3 in. across. Alkaline tolerant. This beautiful tree casts a soft filtered light but be careful when planting it, because it has sharp thorns on the trunk and branches.


Use Ornamental: Aromatic
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: Minimal


Propagation Material: Seeds
Seed Collection: May be stored in cold for one year.
Seed Treatment: Scarification.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Requires pruning to develop strong structure.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0316 Collected Mar 31, 1993 in Comal County by Mary Beth White

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 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 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
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 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
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.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Research Literature

Reslit 235 - Growth analysis of nine multipurpose woody legumes native from southern Mexico (1998) V. Cervantes, V. Arriaga, J. Meave and J. Carabias
Reslit 236 - Seed germination of woody legumes from deciduous tropical forest of southern Mexico (1996) V. Cervantes, J. Carabias and C. VazquezYanes
Reslit 461 - Seed morphology and ultrastructure of eight native shrubs and trees of northeastern Mexico (2000) R. Foroughbakhch, M. Rodriguez, R. K. Maiti, J. L....
Reslit 460 - Techniques of germination and growth potential of some fuelwood species in northeastern Mexico (2000) R. Foroughbakhch, L. A. Hauad, R. K. Maiti, M. Rod...
Reslit 309 - Survival of Sprouting Shrubs Following Summer Fire: Effects of Morphological and Spatial Characteristics (2009) E. C. Dacy and T. E. Fulbright
Reslit 814 - Germination of 151-year old Acacia spp. seeds (2010) M. W. Leino and J. Edqvist
Reslit 960 - A Comparative Study of the Effects of Fluctuations in Temperature and Moisture Supply on Hard Coat Dormancy in Seeds of Coastal Tropical Legumes in Mexico (1994) P. Moreno-Casasola, J. P. Grime and M. L. Martinez
Reslit 1148 - The effect of hardening on the salinity tolerance of Acacia seeds (1998) S. Rehman, P. J. C. Harris and W. F. Bourne
Reslit 1149 - The effect of sodium chloride on germination and the potassium and calcium contents of Acacia seeds (1997) S. Rehman, P. J. C. Harris, W. F. Bourne and J. Wi...
Reslit 1150 - The relationship between ions, vigour and salinity tolerance of Acacia seeds (2000) S. Rehman, P. J. C. Harris, W. F. Bourne and J. Wi...

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2015-11-13
Research By: TWC Staff

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