Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
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Synonym: Acacia farnesiana
An occasional shrub or small tree of shell middens, coastal hammocks, pinelands and disturbed sites mostly in south and southwest Florida with scattered occurrences in central Florida and the panhandle. Also native in the southern tier of states from Georgia to California, plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Introduced in Hawaii.
Growing up to 5m (~16-1/2 ft.) tall with many slightly zig-zag branches armed with pairs of whitish thorns which are actually spinescent stipules. The alternate leaves are bipinnately compound and 2-10cm (3/4 to 4 in.) in overall length. There are two to six pairs of pinnae each with ten to 25 pairs of linear leaflets each 3-6mm (1/8 - 1/4 in.) long. The flowers are a globular cluster 1-1.3cm (3/8 - 1/2 in.) in diameter appearing at the end of 1.5-2cm (0.6 - 0.8 in.) long stalks. The fruit is a dark purplish-red cylindrical pod 5-8cm (2 - 3-1/8 in.) long with a blunt tip.
The genus Acacia was the largest genus in the pea (Fabaceae) family, encompassing around 1500 species occurring in Australia, Asia, Africa and the Americas. In 2011 the 17th International Botanical Congress accepted a reclassification of these species, reserving the name Acacia for the largest group, about 900 species native to Australia. The species that were recently considered Acacia that are native to Florida with capitate inflorescences (round, head-like flowers) and spinescent stipules are now in the genus Vachellia. leaving only three non-native Acacia species in the state. A non-native species in Florida without spines and having a spiked inflorescence has been reclassified as Senegalia pennata insuavis