sweet acacia Fabaceae Acacia
farnesiana (L.) Willd. symbol: ACFA
Leaf: Alternate, evergreen, bipinnately compound, 2 to 4 inches long, with 3 to 6 pairs of major leaflets and 10 to 20 pairs of minor, very finely divided leaflets, green to grayish green.
Flower: Species is monoecious; many small, yellow to orange, in a tight round cluster (balls), 1/2 inch across on a 2 to 3 inch long stalk, fragrant, appearing in early spring.
Fruit: A 2 to 3 inch long legume, rounded in cross section, dark brown to nearly black, flattened seeds inside.
Twig: Slender, slightly zigzag, olive-brown to brown, speckled with light colored lenticels, a pair of straight, light colored spines (1/2 inch long) at the base of each leaf, spur shoots numerous; buds sunken in leaf scar.
Bark: Initially smooth and olive green, turning brown to gray-brown and becoming furrowed and scaly.
Form: Upright, multi-branched, large, thicket forming shrub or a small tree up to 20 feet in height with a spreading crown.
Looks like: catclaw acacia - guajillo - Texas ebony - fairy duster
Additional Range Information: Acacia farnesiana is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting sweet acacia.
External Links: USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson