Form: single or multistemmed tree, vase shaped in youth, rounder when older
Seasonality: semi-evergreen, may retain leaves in warm winters
Size: 15-25ft, spread usually 2/3 height
Leaves: bipinnately compound with tiny leaflets, feathery
Flowers: 1/2in bright yellow puffballs, fragrant, profuse, bloom in February-March
Fruit: dark brown pod, 1/2in across
Stems/Trunks: dark trunk, well-armed, straight spines are long and white on young growth, only 1/4-1/2 long on older branches
Range/Origin: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico, Central America, Florida
Hardiness: to mid teens, damaged if cold temps are prolonged
Acacia farnesiana ( = A. smallii ) in bloom
- roadside tree
- of residential scale
- too messy for use near pools
- Exposure: full sun, reflected heat
- Water: deep and infrequent, 1-2 times per month during growing season
- Soil: adaptable
- Propagation: seed, important to collect from local sources to retain desired hardiness; requires scarification to break seed dormancy.
- Maintenance: pod cleanup
* The species classification of this tree is in dispute. Some authorities maintain that the correct epithet is A. farnesiana and consider A. smallii and A. minuta to be synonyms. Other references describe A. minuta/A. smallii as sub-species of A. farnesiana.
Experience local to Tucson has shown that there is a difference in cold-hardiness and blooming time. The hardier, more spring-blooming strain is usually labeled A. minuta or A. smallii.
"Sweet acacia" is currently extremely popular in the local landscape industry. It is probably the second most common species planted in the Tucson area.
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This page was first created September 21, 2001 and last modified June 6, 2007.
Web page design and photographs by Toni Moore, Master Gardener
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