Acacia trees and shrubs are a fern-like leafed evergreen plant that produces gorgeous clusters of fragrant yellow or white fuzzy blooms. Feathery acacia leaves have a modified stem or petiole, which is an unusual feature. In a garden landscape, acacias are fast-growing thorny trees and shrubs with multiple applications.
Acacia plants, also known as wattles, come in a variety of sizes and shapes. The trees may grow up to 50 feet (15 meters) tall, including the Sweet Acacia (Acacia farnesiana), Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata), and Cootamundra Wattle (Acacia baileyana). The bushes as small as 3 or 4 feet (1.2 m) may be found, such as the Flax-Leaf Wattle (Acacia linifolia) and Box Leaf Wattle (Acacia buxifolia).
The most common types of acacia trees and shrubs are detailed in this article. The best decorative trees or shrubs for your sunny garden will be identified using Acacia plant descriptions and photographs.
Acacia Tree Care
Full sun and well-draining, loamy, or sandy soil are ideal conditions for Acacia plants. Once it is established in the landscape, the drought-tolerant plant requires little water. Throughout the winter and spring.
it is a trouble-free, low-maintenance evergreen plant that requires minimal care to keep its leaves and fluffy blossoms. To keep the Acacia trees looking their best, occasional pruning throughout the dry season is enough.
Acacia Tree Facts
Acacias are a large genus of graceful trees and attractive shrubs in the pea family Fabaceae, and they can range in size from tiny to massive. The Mimosoideae family of acacia plants is also included in it. Acacia species are found across Australia and Africa, in particular. Acacias thrive in warm places like Texas, Arizona, and California in North America.
According to reports, Acacia contains over 1,000 species and is the country’s biggest genus of flowering plants. Acacia trees with their broad spreading umbrella-like canopy are well-known features on African savannas. Acacia trees are a common desert plant because they are tolerant of dry, arid conditions. In Africa and the southern United States, acacias grow in the deserts.
Acacia is a fast-growing tree and shrub species. Some Acacia species grow as much as 3 feet (1 meter) per year in ideal conditions. The trees reach a height of between 20 and 50 feet (6 and 15 meters) after only a few years. Acacias grow between 20 and 30 years and have a short lifespan.
The USDA growing zones 9 through 11 are ideal for Acacia trees and shrubs. Acacias prefer full sun, but some are able to tolerate some shade as well.
Acacia and ants have an unusual connection as well. Certain ant species, including some that attack insects and even mammals that want to eat acacia leaves, help defend the tree. Ants may also lower the number of bacteria that flourish on leaves, according to some studies. Ants feed on sweet nectar from the tree and reside in the hollows of acacia thorns.
Acacia wood is a dense, tough hardwood that is used in flooring, furniture, and home goods. Like most woods, acacia has a golden hue with a good wood grain. The great water-resistant features of wattle tree timber, even when it isn’t treated, are a characteristic.
Bark on acacia trees is gray to brown in hue, with deep furrows. Because of its tannin concentration, acacia bark was utilized in the leather industry.
Bark from Acacia trees is used for various purposes.
Acacia leaves can be flattened petioles that function like leaves (left) or bipinnate fern-like leaves (right). Acacias have tiny oval leaflets that are arranged oppositely on leaf stems (petioles) in their bipinnate leaves. Acacia (wattle) leaves can grow to be up to 30 cm (12 inches) long.
Dark green to silvery blue-green leaves are possible. Phyllodes or cladodes are the leaves of some Acacia species. The flattened petiole of this kind of modified leaf performs the same role as tree leaves. True leaves that are pinnately complex occur in certain Acacia tree and shrub species.
Several acacia trees have feathery pinnate leaves that give them the appearance of being ferns. Some acacia tree types have pinnate or bipinnate juvenile leaves that turn into single, willow-like, or long linear leaves as they develop.
Acacia flowers are showy white or yellow puffballs that grow in compact cylindrical or globular clusters. The flower plumes have a furry or fuzzy appearance due to the many stamens on each acacia flower. Acacia flowers range in appearance from creamy white to golden yellow. There are also some unusual acacia trees with red or purple flowers.
The lovely flower clusters may have as few as three airy blooms or as many as 100 densely packed blooms in the inflorescence, depending on the acacia species. The lovely acacia blooms don’t provide nectar, unlike other types of flowering trees. Ants, bees, and butterflies are drawn to the glands on the phyllodes or leaves, which secrete sweet nectar. Australia’s national flower is the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha).
Acacia thorny branches protect the tree, and a close-up of one of them is shown here. Several creatures are deterred from chewing on their leaves and bark due to the long sharp, hard spikes’ unpleasant flavor. Ants are also protected by thorns on certain acacia trees.
Ant colonies may be found on acacia trees, where they hollow out acacia thorns and lay eggs. Acacia shrubs’ pointed, rigid spikes make them ideal for privacy screens and security hedgerows.
Depending on the species, acacia fruit may be straight, coiled, or twisted in shape and color. Due to the tiny hairs on the pods, Acacia pods may be smooth or fuzzy. These seeds, which appear to be little peas, are found in these pods. Green, brown, or black seeds cluster on acacia trees and ripen in clusters.
The leaves, pods, and flowers are the best ways to identify Acacia species. To identify the type of acacia trees, look for long fern-like pinnate leaves or flattened petioles. The ball or spiked flowers are usually the simplest way to identify an Acacia species. Acacia flowers are generally only available in one color. Each Acacia species also has its own distinct leaf shape.
Types of Acacia (With Pictures)
Now, let’s explore the most typical acacia trees and bushes in greater depth. To help you determination which flowering plant will be the best for your garden, check out descriptions of acacia leaves, flowers, pods, and thorns.
Willow Acacia (Acacia salicina)
With slender linear leaves, brown seed pods, and yellow puffball flowers, the Willow Acacia (Acacia salicina) is a large thornless shrub or small weeping tree. Willow Acacia grows between 10 and 65 feet (3 and 20 meters) tall, depending on the variety. The weeping, drooping appearance of the willow acacia tree’s pendulous branches.
The weeping growth and willow-like leaves give the Willow Acacia its common name. ‘Willow Wattle,’ ‘Black Wattle,’ ‘Native Wattle,’ and ‘Cooba are some of the names for this acacia. You only need to water this acacia every one or two months because it is drought tolerant.
Willow acacia leaves: The blue-to dark-green flattened acacia leaves (phyllodes) have long thin stalks. Leaves may be up to 12 inches (30 cm) long and 0.8 inches (2 cm) broad. The leaves of willow acacia may be long and narrow.
Leaves, pods, and seeds of Acacia salicina
Willow acacia flowers: Bright yellow fluffy globular clusters make up the acacia flowers. Between 25 and 55 fuzzy flowers can be found in each flower cluster. Late spring and summer are the best blooming seasons.
Acacia salicina blooms abound.
Shoestring Acacia (Acacia stenophylla)
The Shoestring Acacia has pale-yellow spherical blooms and string-like smooth bluish-green leaves. Between 13 and 66 feet (4 and 20 meters) tall, the Shoestring Acacia grows up to 30 feet (9 meters) broad. The long seed pods, which look like a necklace or rosary beads, are an identifying characteristic of Shoestring Acacia.
Acacia stenophylla is named after the peculiar thin acacia leaves. It’s called a tree with slim leaves in Greek. This acacia tree is particularly suited for filtered sunlight due to its stringy leaves.
The long pods, which resemble a string of beads, are another distinguishing characteristic of Shoestring Acacia. The dark brown seed pods on the hairy pod reach up to 10 inches (26 cm) long. Grow Shoestring Acacia in USDA zones 9 through 11, in full sun and well-drained soil for optimum results. Once a month, water is provided.
Shoestring acacia leaves: Long string-like modified stems (phyllodes) make up the acacia leaves. The leaves are approximately 6 to 16 inches (15 to 40 cm) long, and just 0.4 inch (1 cm) broad. Shoestring Acacia has drooping blue-green leaves that make it weepy.
Leaves, flowers, and pods of Acacia stenophylla
Shoestring acacia flowers: Look for clusters of cream puffballs between long stringy leaves, especially near the tips. Acacia trees produce flowers from fall to spring.
Sweet Acacia (Acacia farnesiana)
Sweet Acacia is a multi-trunked semi-evergreen tree with sharp thorns, feathery leaves, and yellow puffball flower clusters. Acacia trees of this sort grow between 15 and 20 feet (4.5 and 6 meters) tall.
The Sweet Acacia has a rapid growth rate of up to 3 feet (1 meter) each year. The plump, cylindrical seed pods, 1-inch (2.5-cm) sharp thorns, and a sweet fragrance are all identifying features of the Sweet Acacia.
Sweet Acacia has the botanical names Vachellia farnesiana, which refers to green immature pods and thorns (left) and brown mature pods (right). Sweet Acacia thrives in full sun, sandy, well-draining soil, as do all drought-tolerant acacia trees. Maintaining its height is essential to producing a stunning blooming decorative acacia tree.
The Sweet Acacia blooms have a beautiful fragrance that emerges from their golden yellow petals. In Florida, California, and Texas, the Sweet Acacia is a popular tree. The tree maintains some of its lovely leaves throughout the winter in USDA zones 9 through 11.
Sweet Acacia’s little, feathery leaves feature two razor-sharp thorns. In tropical or subtropical areas, the thorny shrubby Sweet Acacia makes an excellent hedge plant. Against the green foliage and olive-green or gray stems, the light gray spines are visible.
Sweet acacia leaves: Pinnate leaves with tiny oval leaflets growing along the petiole characterize acacia leaves. Sweet Acacia leaves have a mimosa plant appearance.
The leaves and blooms of Acacia farnesiana
Sweet acacia flowers: Yellow flowers that resemble fuzzy pom-poms adorn the Sweet Acacia. In the winter or early spring, clusters of brilliant yellow flower balls emerge. The acacia tree blooms for the majority of the year in warm regions.
Black Acacia (Acacia melanoxylon)
This tropical tree has oblanceolate-shaped evergreen leaves, purple fruit, and spectacular creamy-white flowers. It is known as Black Acacia (Acacia melanoxylon). With a rounded, spreading crown and thick leaves, the Black Acacia grows between 40 and 50 feet (12 and 15 meters) tall.
The Blackwood Acacia has black or dark brown fissured bark, according to photographs. USDA zones 9 through 11 are ideal for black acacia trees, which prefer full sun. Shade tolerance is, however, limited.
Black acacia leaves: The leaves of the Blackwood wattle are oblong to ovate and have a deep, silvery-green or blue-green color. On thick stems, the evergreen acacia leaves grow in an alternate pattern.
The leaves and blooms of Acacia melanoxylon
Black acacia flowers: White or cream blooms bloom on black acacia trees in the spring and winter. The flower puffs have a spiky appearance due to the fine, hair-like stamens.
Bailey Acacia (Acacia baileyana)
The Bailey Acacia is a fast-growing shrubby acacia tree with delicate feathery blue-gray leaves, small golden yellow puffy flowers, and brown seed pods. This acacia tree grows to be 30 feet (10 meters) tall and is also known as the Cootamundra Wattle. The huge, spreading rounded crown with thick silvery gray-green foliage is its identifying characteristic.
The tree is also known as “Golden Mimosa” and “Fernleaf Acacia” because of the acacia leaves, which resemble mimosa leaves. The brilliantly colored brilliant flowers that brighten the front and backyards of Bailey Acacia trees are its attractive features. It also has year-round appeal due to its evergreen foliage.
Bailey acacia leaves: Little pinnate fern-like acacia leaves have little blue-green or silver-green oblong leaflets that make up the leaf. The short, almost non-existent petioles are a distinguishing feature of the leaves.
Flowers and leaves of Acacia baileyana
Bailey acacia flowers: Bright, golden-yellow blooms that resemble little puffballs adorn the Cootamundra Wattle. During late winter and early spring, this acacia variety blooms.
Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata)
The Silver Wattle is a large silvery-gray twice-compound leafed shrub or small tree that bears golden-yellow spherical blossoms and reddish-brown seed pods. This lovely decorative yellow acacia, also known as Mimosa or Blue Wattle, has a fast growth rate of up to 5 feet per year.
It stands 32 feet (1.5 meters) tall and 32 feet (1.5 meters) tall. Silver wattle pinnate leaves are planted alternately on hairy stalks and resemble mimosa pinnate leaves. M mimosa acacia leaves grow 3 to 6.5 inches (7 to 17 cm) long and up to 4 inches (11 cm) broad.
Under a spreading canopy, the fern-like leaves produce dense foliage. In garden landscapes, the Silver Wattle is a superb shade tree.
Silver wattle blooms are fuzzy globular blooms that form big yellow clusters on Acacia dealbata leaves. On the little tree, the lovely yellow mimosa blooms abundantly. White mimosa blooms are popular in cut flower arrangements because of their gorgeousness. The Silver Wattle’s long, flattened brown pods, which hold several black seeds, are another characteristic.
Immature pods of Acacia dealbata
Acacia Confusa is a medium-sized shrubby acacia with green, leathery lanceolate leaves and tiny spherical fragrant yellow flowers. This large shrub or medium-sized tree grows up to 50 feet (15 meters) tall and is also known as the small Philippine acacia or Formosa acacia.
Acacia confusa fruit are eight- seeded, dark brown or black twisted or curved pods that bloom and develop on the stems.
Pod seeds of Acacia confusa
Creeping Wattle (Acacia saligna)
The Creeping Wattle is a shrub-like tree with extended leaves, clusters of bright yellow blooms, and lengthy brown seed pods. It is also known as the Blue Leaf Wattle. Little multi-stemmed shrubby trees, up to 19 feet (6 meters) tall, grow along the ground around Creeping Wattle.
The young tender bipinnate leaves of Acacia saligna develop into long willow-like leaves before drying. The Creeping Wattle has a weeping appearance due to its drooping leaf development.
Acacia saligna blooms and leaves have a wide range of golden-yellow fluffy blooms that cluster in huge globular clusters on the hairless branches.
Flax-Leaf Wattle (Acacia linifolia)
The Flax Wattle is a small shrubby tree that grows between 5 and 13 feet (1.5 and 4 meters). Evergreen linear leaves (phyllodes) up to 2″ (5 cm) long make up this “white wattle.” Clusters of pale yellow or cream-white flowers are also produced by the long leafy stems.
In the summer and winter, Flax-Leaf Wattles bloom. The tiny trees thrive in full sun or partial shade and grow best in USDA zones 9 through 11.
Leaves and flowers of Acacia linifolia