Twisted Acacia, Huisachillo, Schaffner's Wattle

Acacia schaffneri (S. Wats) Herm.

Fabaceae (Legume family)


Twisted Acacia is a spiny, spreading, multi-stemmed shrub of the Legume family. It can range from 4 to 12 feet in height but can reach up to 25 feet or 7.6 m tall. Its stems have many spines that are paired, pin-like, and pale to 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, as well as livestock, make use of Twisted Acacia. It is browsed by white-tailed deer, goats, and sheep, and the fruit is eaten by javelina, feral hogs, and some bird species. It is also used for loafing, nesting, and protective cover by birds and small mammals. Livestock utilize the trees for shelter and shade.


Twisted Acacia grows in various soils in mixed-brush stands and root-plowed areas. It is frequently found in the chaparral of the Rio Grande Plains and southern Coastal Prairies.