Parkinsonia aculeata L.

Fabaceae (Legume family)


Retama is a green-barked shrub or small tree in the Legume family. It grows 10 to 15 feet tall and has slender, spreading branches with feathery foliage. The trunks and branches are armed with needle-sharp spines that are turned up slightly.

Retama leaves are located alternately along the stems and are twice compound, with one or two branches and many leaflets per branch.

The yellow flowers have five petals, one of which has red spots. The fruit is a brown, many-seeded legume up to 4 inches long.

Retama leaves are sometimes browsed by white-tailed deer, and the fruit is eaten by deer and other mammals and birds.


Retama grows in moist, poorly drained areas.