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Pineland acacia
Vachellia farnesiana var. pinetorum

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

General Landscape Uses: An accent flowering shrub in sunny locations. Also an effective and colorful addition to spiny barrier plantings.

Ecological Restoration Notes: It can be used in low densities as an understory shrub in pine rocklands, but can quickly overwhelm small spaces.

Availability: Grown by a few native plant nurseries in South Florida.

Description: Medium shrub with long zigzag branches armed with stout pairs of stipular spines. Leaves thin and feathery, light green. Similar to Vachellia farnesiana var. farnesiana but generally smaller in all respects.

Dimensions: Typically 3-6 feet in height; rarely to 10 feet or more. As broad as tall or broader.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Monroe County Keys and Miami-Dade, Collier and Lee counties; disjunct in Pasco and Hernando counties. In the Monroe County Keys, disjunct from Key Largo (where very rare) to the pine rocklands of Big Pine Key and nearby islands. Apparently planted outside its historical range in Broward County and perhaps escaped from cultivation there.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Pine rocklands, marl prairies, coastal berms and shell mounds.

Soils: Moist, well-drained limestone or calcareous sandy soils, without humus.

Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils and can fix its own nitrogen from the atmosphere.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.

Drought Tolerance: High; does not require any supplemental water once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun.

Flower Color: Yellow.

Flower Characteristics: Showy, in rounded head-like clusters; very fragrant.

Flowering Season: Spring-summer.

Fruit: Long brownish 1-3" pod (legume) with a pronounced, curved tip.

Wildlife and Ecology: Primary larval host plant for nickerbean blue (Hemiargus ammon) butterflies. Key deer browse the foliage in the lower Florida Keys. Attracts pollinators.

Horticultural Notes: Propagated by seed and cuttings. Germination may be speeded up by treating seed with hot water. For cuttings, intermediate (not green, not mature) wood is best.

References: Hammer 2004.

Comments: An excellent shrub in sunny locations in rockland and other calcareous areas. The spines make a very effective barrier.

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Other data on Vachellia farnesiana var. pinetorum available from:

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