A common shrub or small tree with light green foliage; often forms a multi-trunked clump shaped like a fountain.
Widespread in South Texas, with small populations extending into Brazos and Travis counties. Occurs on heavy, wet clays and clay-loams.
Leaves almost feather-like, 1" to 4" long with minute leaflets just 0.1" long and too numerous to count. Foliage is gray-green and twigs are armed with a pair of straight thorns up to 2" long at the base of each leaf.
The bright, orange-gold flowers are borne in spherical clusters up to 0.75" across, in spring. Very fragrant.
A small brown pod, 1" to 2" long, pointed at the tip. Shiny seeds are borne in two rows within the pod.
Reddish-brown and thin on young plants, breaking into flat ridges and shallow furrows on older trees.
Bark can be used for tanning, dying, and ink making. Pods have been used to create a mending substance for pottery.
Honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) can have similar form and bark, but leaves are much larger, greener.
Flowers were collected to manufacture French perfume in 19th century.