Twisted acacia, Huisachillo

Acacia schaffneri (S. Wats) Herm.

Fabaceae (Legume family)


Twisted acacia is a spiny, spreading, multi-stemmed shrub of the Legume family. It can reach 4 to 12 feet tall. Its stems have many spines that are paired, pinlike and pale or blackish.

The leaves are twice compound, and the flowers are round and yellowish to orange.

Twisted acacia is sometimes confused with huisache but can be distinguished from huisache by its round growth habit, longer and narrower legumes, and the petiolar (leaf stem) gland located between the lowermost pair of leaf branches.

Several species of wildlife make use of twisted acacia. It is browsed by white-tailed deer, and the fruit is eaten by javelina, feral hogs and some birds. It is also used for loafing, nesting and protective cover by birds and small mammals.


Twisted acacia grows in various soils in mixed-brush stands and root-plowed areas.