Acacia farnesiana-Sweet Acacia
In the spring, sweet acacia lives up to its common name by perfuming the
air with masses of fragrant yellow-orange puffball flowers. This tree is
extremely tough, and will grow in almost any situation, from hot parking
lots to turf areas and will even tolerate poorly drained situations. Its moderate size (to 25 feet tall and wide), fast
growth rate, and attractive vase-shaped form make it a popular choice
for desert landscapes.
However, be aware that this tree is quite messy,
and requires some maintenance as the plump hard seed pods can be rather
messy. The pods also contain many seeds that sprout readily
with extra moisture and the resulting volunteers can become weedy in
Sweet acacia should be kept away from swimming pools, as the pods can
create quite a bit of litter.
Sweet acacia really wants to be a big
bush, producing many thorny suckers at the base. Removal of these
suckers, as well as selective pruning, is required to develop an upright
tree form. Although
sweet acacia is cold hardy to 10° F, it sheds some of its foliage in the
winter and flowering can be impaired by cold temperatures.
The flowers appear in late winter and through the
spring and sometimes into fall. The branches have 1 inch long
paired white spines to 2"
that can be a nuisance when pruning.
It can be evergreen in mild winters and is
native of Arizona and of Texas from 2500-5000'.