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Arid Zone Trees

Acacia constricta

Whitethorn Acacia

Foliage: Deciduous

Mature Height: 10’ - 18’

Mature Width: 10’ - 18’

Growth Rate: Moderate

Hardiness: 0 degrees F

Exposure: Full Sun

Leaf Color: Green

Shade: Filtered

Flower Color:  Yellow

Flower Shape: Ball

Flower Season: Spring

Thorns: Yes

Propagation Method: Seed

Sizes Available: 24”

 

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Acacia constricta PDF

 

With its lush green foliage and conspicuous ½" long bright white thorns, A. constricta is a study in visual contradiction, being at once inviting and cautioning not to come too close. In summer the finely divided (4 to 16 pairs of leaflets), lush green foliage stands out against the gray to mahogany-brown bark. Thorns are borne in pairs and originate at leaf nodes along branches. Thorns are bright white and easily visible, adding to the interesting texture of the tree's canopy. Yellow-orange, fragrant, ball-shaped flowers first appear in spring and again in late summer through the fall months (depending on seasonal rains). Pods are 4" long, curved, reddish brown in color and constricted or narrow between each seed. Trees are cold hardy to 0 degrees F and are both drought and cold deciduous.

 

Native to Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico, it is found at elevations from 0 to 1800 feet, along washes and arroyos where runoff compensates for the lack of rainfall. In these natives setting it grows at a moderate rate to a large shrub or small tree. In its natural habitat you may find the tree unarmed. In the landscape, reports suggest a range of mature sizes from 10 to 18' tall and as wide. They can be grown in a spreading shrub form or pruned into graceful single or multiple trunk specimens. White Thorn Acacia will tolerate shallow, alkaline soils but will thrive in full sun and well-drained soils. Established trees can be naturalized to survive on annual rainfall in most desert locations but are most lush and produce more flowers if irrigated deeply once a month during spring and summer.

 

The Seri Indians used the leaves, mashed seeds and roots of A. constricta for stomach ailments, skin rashes and medicinal teas.

 

With a form and stature similar to A. smallii, White Thorn makes an excellent accent tree with its form, color and fragrant flowers. Specimens can be planted singly or in small groupings. Planting in combination with semi-evergreen trees and shrubs will soften the visual impact of White Thorn Acacia when it is dormant. They are also used to replant disturbed desert or as a transition tree between landscaped areas and the surrounding desert. Trees planted close together will form a loose, informal hedge that provides screening and security.

 

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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