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Acacia farnesiana

 
Acacia farnesiana
huisache; sweet acacia
Acacia farnesiana
Golden puffball

Synonym(s) Vachellia farnesiana
Common name huisache; sweet acacia
Family fabaceae
Life cycle tree (Z9-11)
Flowers yellow
Size 15-20'
Light sun
Cultural notes well drained soil, heat and drought tolerant

Open spreading tree or large shrub with deciduous fine-textured light green foliage and fragrant yellow flowers (actually, puffballs of yellow stamens) in winter and early spring. Branches are covered in sharp thorns. Its natural habit is multi-trunked, growing about as wide as it is tall. This species is native to central and southern Texas, through the U.S. southwest, Mexico, and Central America. I've learned that it is considered a nuisance tree by those who manage natural areas, because its saplings already possess a lot of ability to puncture shoe soles. We'll be pruning ours up as it reaches for the sky, to keep those spines away from tender skin. Our tree has grown very fast, and after producing just a few flowers in its first spring, it lit up the garden with a golden display the following year.
Although our tree has proven hardy through the worst winters Texas has thrown at us, it had us concerned for a while following the February 2021 megafreeze: all the way through late March, it showed not a sign of life, weeks after its more tender garden companions had started to put out new growth. Finally, in late March, a few signs of life appeared, and by two weeks later it was clear that this species is just reluctant to return from hard freezes, but pulls through mostly intact in the end. We did lose our flower display to the freeze.

huisache; sweet acacia
Puffball precursor...
Acacia farnesiana
...about to pop
huisache; sweet acacia
Newly planted tree, October 2017
Acacia farnesiana
A year later – it's done a lot of growing!
huisache; sweet acacia
Seed pods in late June – unlike the pods on most pea-family trees, these don't droop down but are held stiffly in whichever direction they emerged
Acacia farnesiana
Buds developing in December
huisache; sweet acacia
First sign of life after the Feb '21 megafreeze
Acacia farnesiana
A few years after planting, spotted the first seedling

In our garden, this plant grows in the following area: left fence border

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Last modified: May 01, 2021
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