in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Acacia (Vachellia) constricta: Whitethorn Acacia

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Form: A large, multi-stemmed shrub that can be trained into a tree.
Leaf retention: Deciduous.
Growth rate: Slow to moderate depending on water.
Mature Size: 12-18' high and wide.
Flowers: Fragrant, bright yellow, 1/2" diameter puffballs.
Bloom: Spring and summer. Repeat blooms in mid to late summer with rainfall.
Fruit: Flattened, reddish-tan bean pods, constricted between beans.
Leaves: Small, green leaves arrayed along an axis. Provides light filtered shade.
Stems: White thorns of varying lengths arrayed in pairs along leaf nodes. Young plants have more thorns. Some individuals may have none. Slender trunk compared to other trees.
Roots: Nitrogen-fixing*.
Wildlife: Attracts butterflies and bees. Pods and beans attract quail and small mammals.
Toxic / Danger: Thorns.
Origin: Arizona through Texas and Mexico. Separate population found in Maryland and Virginia.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 6-11.
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.
Pests: Can be prone to mistletoe when given insufficient water.
Uses: Ornamental.

Former species names are Acaciopsis constricta and Vachellia constricta. Some organizations still use V. constricta on the Internet. This species differs from the similar Acacia farnesiana in that it has multiple, more slender, trunks. The bean pods are also longer, flatter, and lighter in color.

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Acacia constricta: Whitethorn Acacia - flowers

Acacia constricta: Whitethorn Acacia - seed pods

Acacia constricta: Whitethorn Acacia