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in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Growing Acacia constricta: Whitethorn Acacia

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Description
Form: A large, multi-stemmed shrub that can be trained into a tree.
Lifespan: 70+ years.
Leaf retention: Cold-deciduous.
Growth rate: Slow to moderate depending on water.
Mature Size: 12-18' high and wide.
Flowers: Bright yellow, 1/2" diameter puffballs, fragrant and edible.
Bloom: Spring and summer. It repeat-blooms in mid to late summer with rainfall. Blossoms may not occur during drought.
Fruit: Flattened, reddish-tan bean pods, constricted between adjoining beans. The beans are edible.
Leaves: Small, green leaves arrayed along an axis, edible. This plant provides light filtered shade.
Stems: White thorns of varying lengths are arrayed in pairs along leaf nodes. Young plants have more thorns. Some individuals may have none. It has a more slender trunk compared to other trees.
Roots: Nitrogen-fixing*. Widespread lateral roots and a taproot.
Wildlife: Attracts butterflies, bees and ants. Both bees and ants are associated with high seed production. The pods and beans attract quail and small mammals.
Toxic / Danger: Thorns.
Origin: Arizona through Texas and Mexico. A separate, ancient population is found in Maryland and Virginia.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 7-11.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Water once established: Deep water monthly during drought.
Soil: Well drained, pH 6.6-8.5 (neutral to alkaline). *Do not use a nitrogen fertilizer.
Prune: As needed to develop a tree form.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed which as been scarified and buried in soil 1/2" deep.
Pests: This plant can be prone to mistletoe when given insufficient water.
Uses: Ornamental, quail garden. The seeds are edible and can be ground into bean meal.

Comments
Acacia constricta is a member of the Legume family (Leguminosae) with a scientific synonym of Vachellia constricta. This species differs from Acacia farnesiana in that it has multiple, more slender, trunks. Its bean pods are also longer, flatter, and lighter in color, sometimes reddish.



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Latest update: February, 2019.

Acacia constricta: Whitethorn Acacia - flowers

Acacia constricta: Whitethorn Acacia - seed pods

Acacia constricta: Whitethorn Acacia