Sunday, November 18, 2007

Willow Acacia

Acacia salicina Flowers

When I went into my garden today, the fragrance of honey permeated the air, and I knew the Willow Acacia (Acacia salicina) trees had bloomed overnight. The flowers are actually little clusters of yellow puffballs that will last for several weeks and then develop into pods which hold beautiful black and red seeds. I love the sweet fragrance of blooming Willow Acacia. It almost makes up for some of the negatives I’ve discovered regarding these trees. However, some find the fragrance too cloying, and since this tree produces blooms several times a year, those folks best avoid it.

The positives:
· Good tree for narrow locations, where height is needed over width.
· Fast growing with a willow-like appearance, and is evergreen in Arizona.
· Needs little water when established.
· This Australian native can take extreme heat, and once established cold to the mid-teens.
· Fragrant flowers and interesting seeds.

The negatives:
· Constantly suckers. I spend a good deal of time pulling up or clipping numerous suckers that grow from shallow lateral roots. Suckers may be 20 feet from the tree!
· Prone to wind damage. My three trees all suffered severe wind damage during our monsoon season. Two trees toppled, and had to be drastically pruned and restaked. Restaking causes its own problems, so I’ll be dealing with that for a couple more years. Another tree totally lost its crown, so it was unsalvageable.
· Although considered a low litter tree, the suckers, the volunteers from seed, and the leaf drop in very cold or hot weather and pods several times a year put it outside the low litter category in my view.

If I had to do it over again, I think I’d pass on the Willow Acacia. My back hurts from pulling suckers all morning. I suppose if I want to smell honey, I can open a jar and save myself a lot of work!


blueblue said...

They're all in bloom here too at the moment....they planted them along the side of the road to green up the neighbourhood and so I have a street full of them. This is the first year that they've put on a really good show though and its starting to look like someone had a bit of foresight about how good they would eventually look. I've been a bit bothered about low tree branches invading the driveway but they will be too tall for that. Trees rather than bushes.

Um, yours likes to grow near rivers and the suckering problem is noted here: (

Mary said...

I have never heard of this type of tree. Thank you for the photo and the interesting and informative post. It sounds like its outside the low level clutter to me as well. I know clutter, as I have a huge maple growing at the end of my driveway. It drops little keys that turn into more trees if you don't rake them up. It's a full time job.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I hope you come back soon.


Mark said...

Hi Aiyana,
Sounds like a bit of a dilema,I've not heard of trees flowerinf nd fruiting several times a year but i guess your climate is totaly different from this wet and dreary place. Roll on Spring

Cheers Mark

Crafty Gardener said...

Nothing blooming in my part of the world ... except inside the house.
I bet it is wonderful to inhale the aroma of the Willow Acacia.

maiylah said...

I'm sure we have acacia trees here, too, but their flowers (puffballs) are colored pink. I've seen lots of them in a university near our place.

... about my GTS post, I made that lay-out using photoshop. I guess it is kind of similar to digital scrapbooking. :)

thanks for the visit,
and happy GTS!

Julie said...

Nice photo and info...AND...I learned a new word!!! Cloying. Never had heard it's a good one! LOL.

kml said...


Are the little clumps, seed pods or unopened buds? Too bad these little puff-balls are so much work - they are unique and pretty!

No Rain said...

The little green knobbed things are unopened buds. The flowers are the puffballs--all the yellow stuff. The pods won't form until after the flowers are spent. After the pods form and dry, they split open to expose the beautiful black seeds with bright red heads. The seeds fall out and new plants start, along with the constant suckers. Then, the pods fall off. It's a never ending cleanup!

kate said...

The negatives seem a bit much - I wouldn't want to be pulling suckers out regularly. Besides it's heart-breaking when trees get damaged. It isn't like replacing a shrub or plant.

You made me laugh with your comment about opening a jar of honey -

Ann M. said...

:) I always see your photos and wish it were warmer here so I could grow some of these things, too. This picture was no exception. Then I started reading the negatives, and changed my mind ;)

Beautiful picture as always!

barbara said...

Lovely tree, but way too much work. I prefer the ones that only give you pretty leaves to rake. :-)

Stuart said...

Great description of your acacia. This genus is so divine, most especially for its scent. I haven't found an acacia I haven't liked yet.

Muum said...

Sounds like a tough call, yes or no to this tree. Looks very exotic, though!

nikkipolani said...

I'm not sure if I've smelled Willow Acacia. Did you have to remove the one that lost its crown?

Anonymous said...

so sorry to hear about the complexities of nurturing these plants but it turned out beautiful though.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Thanks so much for all the info on this tree. I am not sure if it would grow here in Texas, but I would probably want to avoid it. Too much work on one plant is just not my style. Have a wonderful week!

farmingfriends said...

I love the way you have posted the positives and negatives about the tree. it must be lovely to smell the tree and know that it had bloomed.
Sara from farmingfriends