Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Acacia farnesiana, (Vachellia constricta), Sweet Acacia

Acacia farnesiana, Sweet Acacia, Southwest Desert Flora Acacia farnesiana, Sweet Acacia, Southwest Desert FloraAcacia farnesiana, Sweet Acacia, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Acacia farnesiana, Vachellia constricta
Common Name: Sweet Acacia
Also Called: Aroma, Aroma Amarilla, Coastal Scrub Wattle, Desert Acacia, Ellington Curse, Huisache, Kandaroma, Klu, Klu Bush, Needle Bush, Popinac, Texas Huisache, Western Sweet Acacia (Spanish: Huizache, Vinorama)
Family: Fabaceae or Leguminosae Family
Synonyms: (Acacia minuta, Acacia minuta subsp. densiflora, Acacia minuta subsp. minuta, Acacia smallii, Mimosa farnesiana, Pithecellobium minutum, Vachellia densiflor, Vachellia farnesiana)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 20 feet high, spread also to 20 feet.
Growth Form: Tree or shrub, multi-truck, trucks brown, forms thickets from suckers, armed with sharp 1 inch thorns or spines, plants are feathery in appearance.
Leaves: Light green, or gray-green; evergreen or deciduous, (semi-deciduous) alternate, bipinnately compound, leaves feathery.
Flower Color: Yellow or orange-yellow; flowers fragrant, heads globose, fruit is a 1 to 3 inch woody dark brown pod (legume).
Flowering Season: April to November

Elevation: 2,000 to 4,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Variable soil conditions, canyons.

Recorded Range: In the United States Sweet Acacia is found in the southern border states from California east to Georgia; AL, AZ, CA, FL, GA, LA, MS, NM and TX. It is also native throughout Baja California, most of Mexico south through Central America. Acacia farnesiana is also native to northern Australia and southern Asia (pantropical). As with many species, Sweet Acacia is an invasive weed in Hawaii. Although this species native range is not clear, its point of origin is Mexico and Central America. In Arizona, Sweet Acacia is found in the central southern and southeast parts of the state.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Acacia farnesiana as Vachellia constricta.

U.S. Weed Information: Acacia farnesiana is an invasive and listed as a weed in Hawaii under the following common names; Ellington Curse, Aroma, Kandaroma, Klu, Popinac and Sweet Acacia.

Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.

Wetland Indicator: Acacia farnesiana has the following wetland designations in North America; Arid West, FACU; Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain, FACU; Great Plains, FACU; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, FACU.
FACU, Facultative Upland; a Nonhydrophyte plant, usually occur in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands.

Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.

Genus Information: 88 species in Acacia in the United States, 7 species in Arizona. Recognized as Acacia farnesiana var. farnesiana by The Jepson Manual (1993).

The Plant List recognizes Vachellia farnesiana as a synonym of Acacia farnesiana. Pronounced Va-KEL-lee-a, far-nes-ee-A-na.

Comments: Sweet Acacia is rare in Arizona and limited in distribution. Populations occur in the Baboquivari Mountains, Pima Arizona and near Ruby, Santa Cruz County, Arizona. It has an exceptional fragrance and a popular desert landscape plant in central Arizona both Phoenix and Tucson areas. Livestock forage on the seed pods although the foliage is thought not to be palatable.

The specific epithet "farnesiana" is named in honor of Odoardo Farnese (1573–1626).

Also see in Southwest Desert Flora White-ball Acacia, Acacia angustissima; Whitethorn Acacia, Acacia constricta and Catclaw Acacia, Acacia greggii.

Profile posted; 07/22/2015, updated, 08/23/2015, updated format 10/12/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
SEINett for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information.
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 08/23/2015).
Chris A. Martin, Arizona State University: (08/03/2015)
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: (08/03/2015)
Wikipedia contributors, 'Vachellia farnesiana', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 27 March 2015, 14:04 UTC, [accessed 3 August 2015]
WEED information; HEAR, USDI, Geological Survey. Information index for selected alien plants in Hawaii