Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Acacia greggii, Catclaw Acacia

Acacia greggii, Catclaw Acacia, Southwest Desert Flora Acacia greggii, Catclaw Acacia, Southwest Desert Flora Acacia greggii, Catclaw Acacia, Southwest Desert Flora Acacia greggii, Catclaw Acacia, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Acacia greggii
Common Name: Catclaw Acacia
Also Called: Catclaw, Devilsclaw, Gregg Acacia, Gregg Catclaw, Long-flower Catclaw, Texas Catclaw and Wait-a-Minute Bush; (Spanish: Uña de Gato, Tèsota, Gatuño, Palo Chino, Algarroba, Tepame)
Family: Fabaceae or Leguminosae Family
Synonyms: (Acacia greggii var. arizonicas, Senegalia greggii)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: From 5 to 12 feet or more. (20')
Growth Form: Small tree or large shrub; rounded with many branches; armed with sharp, stout, cat-claw like thorns; form thickets along streams and washes.
Leaves: Green or gray-green; twice-pinnately compound;
Flower Color: Creamy-white; flowers in 2 inch spikes, fragrant, fruit a contorted pod (legume).
Flowering Season: April to October.
Elevation: Below 4,500 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Chaparral communities, flats, along streams, stream banks and washes.
Recorded Range: Acacia greggii is found in the southwestern United States in AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX and UT. It is also native to Baja California and northern Mexico. In Arizona Catclaw Acacia is found throughout most of the state with few records in Apache and Navajo Counties.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: Acacia greggii has the following wetland designations in North America; Arid West, FACU; Great Plains, UPL; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast FACU.
FACU, Facultative Upland, usually occur in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands
UPL, Obligate Upland, almost never occur in wetlands.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.

Genus Information: 88 species in Acacia in the United States, 7 species in Arizona. 2 varieties in Acacia greggii:
Acacia greggii var. greggii, Catclaw Acacia and
Acacia greggii var. wrightii, Catclaw Acacia.

Comments: Catclaw Acacia is one of the most common and iconic desert scrub plants where found. They are loaded with sharp curved hooked thorns and near impossible to navigate through. The thorns of Catclaw Acacia are formidable, they are tough enough to catch, hold and tear clothing as well as lacerating the skin. Its flowers are reported to be one of the most important nectar sources for honey bees that are housed on the desert.

The species epithet greggii” was named to honor Josiah Gregg, (1806-1850).

Also see White-ball Acacia, Acacia angustissima; Whitethorn Acacia, Acacia constricta and Sweet Acacia, Acacia farnesiana.

Various parts of Catclaw Acacia have been as food and building materials by several indigenous southwest tribes. See a complete list of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

Date Profile Completed: 08/04/2015
References:
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.
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet http://www.wildflower.org/plants/ [accessed: 08/04/2015]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ACGR
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/interchange/I_treat_indexes.html.
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations, http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/.
USDA – Wetland species information:
Arid West, FACU; Great Plains, UPL; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast FACU.