winter thorn Fabaceae Faidherbia
albida (Delile) A. Chev.
Leaf: Alternate, deciduous, to 6 inches long, bipinnately compound, with up to 12 pairs of pinnae each with up to 25 pairs of elliptical leaflets, gray-green above and below; each leaflet to 1/2 inch; glands present at the base of each leaflet pair.
Flower: Species is monoecious; pale yellow in tight elongated, showy clusters, 2 to 3 inches long, fragrant, appearing in spring and early summer.
Fruit: A very distinctive, to 10 inches long, flattened, orange-brown, leathery pod that becomes dry and twisted like an apple ring (apple ring acacia is another common name); pod contains many oval, dark brown, shiny seeds, 1/3 inch long, maturing in late summer and early fall.
Twig: Prominantly zig-zag, gray, bearing paired white-gray thorns to 2 inches long; lateral buds are very small and sunken.
Bark: Gray-brown, initially smooth, developing scaly-topped ridges and furrows.
Form: A large tree with a broad crown, to 100 feet tall.