Form: A multitrunked shrub growing into a tree.
Leaf retention: Evergreen with sufficient water, but deciduous below 25°F.
Growth rate: Very slow.
Mature Size: Eventually 40' high and wide.
Flowers: Yellow-white, oblong, like small bottle brushes, in clusters at the end of
Bloom: Mid fall and/or mid spring.
Fruit: A large seed pod, green turning to dark brown. It may persist on the tree for
one year. The seeds are edible.
Leaves: Green, small, spoon-shaped leaflets. This tree provides dense shade.
Stems: Growing in a zig-zag pattern along their length, with paired thorns at each
Wildlife: Attracts bees.
Toxic / Danger: Many cruel thorns.
Origin: Texas and Mexico.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8b-11. This tree suffers stem dieback below 20°F.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Water once established: Monthly.
Soil: pH 6.6-8.5 (neutral to alkaline). *Do not use a nitrogen fertilizer.
Prune: Carefully remove horizontal, inward- and downward-pointing branches. Take care
to avoid thorns.
Do not shear from the outside, or on top, or the branches will grown into a twisted mess.
Remove the lowest ring of branches every year to promote an eventual walk-under tree.
Litter: Low except for seed pods.
Propagation: Seed that is scarified, soaked, and planted in the fall.
Uses: Ornamental, xeric garden, barrier plant. The wood is very dense and prized for
its woodworking qualities. The hard seeds can be ground and used as a coffee substitute, or
drilled and strung as beads.
This plant is a member of the Legume family (Fabaceae).
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Latest update: February, 2019.