Huisache , Sweet Acacia, Mealy Acacia, Mealy Wattle

Acacia smallii Isely

Fabaceae (Legume family)


Huisache is a small tree in the Legume family that grows multiple trunks. This shrub to small tree is a native, warm-season perennial that is commonly named "sweet acacia." The stems, which can reach up to 30 feet or 9.1 m tall, have many spines that are paired, straight, pale, and pin-like. The leaflets are gray-green and twice-compounded with eight to 16 divisions, each having 10 to 20 pairs of small, fern-like leaflets. The flowers form a fragrant, yellow to orange, fluffy ball with many clusters of yellow stamens. Huisache fruits are black and tapered at each end. The seedpods are cylindrical and 1½ to 3 inches long; when mature, they turn dark brown or black. Sometimes confused with Twisted Acacia, Huisache can be distinguished by its spreading growth form, the shorter and broader legume, and the position and/or presence of a gland on the petiole, or leaf stem. In Huisache, the petiolar gland is either absent or located near the middle of the leaf petiole. Huisache provides poor grazing for wildlife and livestock; however, the seed pods are eaten by livestock and deer.


This tree grows in a variety of soils, most often on deep, poorly drained, sandy or clay lowlands. It is commonly found in Central and South Texas.