Vachellia farnesiana

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Sweet Acacia

Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

Also known as Acacia farnesiana

Plant Specifics

Size:8-20 ft tall by 6-10 ft wide
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:Yellow
Fruit Color:Brown
Noted for:Aroma, fragrance, Showy flowers, Interesting foliage, Thorns


Recommended Uses:Good for barrier shrub and as wildlife thicket, also nice as specimen.
Considerations:Thorns on trunks and branches. Place where flowers and fragrance can be enjoyed, but away from walkways. Can suffer from root rot if too wet.
Propagation:Seeds or cuttings.
Availability:Native nurseries, Seed
Light: Full Sun
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Somewhat long very dry periods)
Moisture Tolerance: Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Somewhat long very dry periods
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Tolerant of occasional/brief inundation such as can occur in storm surges.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:High. Can tolerate significant and ongoing amounts of salty wind and salt spray without injury.
Soil or other substrate:Sand
Soil pH:Prefers alkaline soil



The thorny branches make good cover for birds and other wildlife. Fruits are not generally valued. Attracts pollinators.

There are 2 subspecies, V. farnesiana var. farnesiana and V. farnesiana var. pinetorum.  Var. pinetorum is rare.  It is also smaller.

There is a very rare species, Vachellia macranthera, occasionally cultivated.  It occurs rarely in extreme south Florida and has been found as a likely storm-deposited waif in a couple of areas on the west coast of FL.   If you have it, enjoy it.  Culture should be similar to V. farnesiana.


Attracts pollinators and uses ants both for protection against unwanted insects.

Native Habitats:Coastal uplands, ruderal, shell middens

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 11 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


Ethnobotany:In southern Europe, this species is extensively planted for the flowers, which are a perfume ingredient.
General Comments:Although drought-tolerant, this shrub/small tree may benefit from a few deep, thorough soakings during extremely dry periods. When young, it tends to be multi-trunked, so if a tree form is desired, pruning is required. Very briefly deciduous. Although the range extends further north, it is best used in landscaping where temperatures do not drop below 20 degrees F.