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Arid Zone Trees

Acacia caven

Espino Caven

Foliage: Semi-Evergreen

Mature Height: 25’ - 30’

Mature Width: 25’ - 30’

Growth Rate: Moderate to Fast

Hardiness: 15 degrees F

Exposure: Full Sun

Leaf Color: Green

Shade: Dense

Flower Color:  Yellow

Flower Shape: Ball

Flower Season: Spring

Thorns: Yes

Propagation Method: Seed

Sizes Available: Not in production at AZT

 

 

Acacia caven (Espino Caven) is a South American native that shares many traits with familiar, southwestern natives like Sweet Acacia and Native Mesquite. In central South America (Peru, northern Chile and Argentina), where it is the second most widely distributed native tree, A. caven is called Espino Caven, Espinillo and Amorito. It is found growing in several forms including as a hedged shrub (3 to 6 feet tall) and small tree (6 to 8 feet tall), but can ultimately reach a height of 25 to 30 feet. Botanically it is closely related to Sweet Acacia, (Acacia smallii) sharing similar growth habits, flower color, shape, thorns and exhibiting high genetic variability. This variability may be due in part to it’s wide geographical distribution across a thick band of South America. At least 6 varieties of A. caven are recognized in South America, each tending to be geographically isolated. In Chile’s semi-humid regions, large, nearly pure stands of Espino are found, similar to bosques of native mesquites in southern Arizona or southern Texas. The tree has a broad spreading growth habit and produces fragrant fruit. Bright yellow, ball-shaped flowers are produced in the early spring prior to the emergence of new leaves. Flowers are densely arranged along the surface of the branches, similar to Sonoran Palo Verde (Cercidium praecox) or Twisted Acacia (Acacia schaffneri). Trees can be found in native settings growing from sea level to over 9000 feet. Trees tend to thrive near towns and cities, invading cultivated fields and abandoned pastures. Its potential as a substitute for Sweet Acacia initially drew the interest of wholesale tree growers. Its adaptability to an array of growing conditions and growth and horticultural characteristics makes it an excellent addition to the desert landscape palette. In tests conducted in Tucson it tolerated temperatures of 15 degrees F with no significant damage. Its natural growth habits strongly suggest that the tree would be well adapted to planting in groupings to create small bosques, as a perimeter planting or as individual specimen trees, placed strategically to take advantage of the flower color and fragrance.

Disclaimer: The information provided here was gathered from research literature published by the University of Arizona, other professional Landscape and Horticultural organizations and our experience at Arid Zone Trees. Always consult local landscape experts for recommendation for your specific area.

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