Sweet Acacia [Acacia farnesiana (L.) Willd. var farnesiana]

Sweet Acacia [Acacia farnesiana (L.) Willd. var farnesiana]

Listing CNPS Unlisted R-E-D Code None

State/Federal. Status -- None FABACEAE Jan.-Mar.

Global Rank None State Rank None

Distribution: San Diego County; Arizona; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: In Chollas Creek this small tree is found on a sandy alluvial embankment with large cobbles, adjacent to a seasonally dry creek bed and surrounded by Diegan Sage Scrub. In northern Baja California these small trees are established on open slopes with a light sage scrub vegetation and a surficial, rocky substrate.

Known Sites: A lone tree is growing in Chollas Creek just east of Kelton Road and south of Highway 94. One small shrub was recently reported in the Tijuana River drainage east of Border Field, and may represent a washdown element from across the border. A Data Base report is from the hills immediately south of Otay River Valley and 0.5 mile east of Interstate 805. The Montgomery Park site has been extirpated owing to an urban planning error; an historical report from the northern banks of the San Dieguito River near Via de la Valle cannot be relocated. Reported by Shreve and Wiggins in Pima County, Arizona. Sweet Acacia is native from western Florida to southern Texas; as well as southern Arizona.

Twelve specimens from Baja California are deposited in the San Diego Natural History Museum's herbarium; south to near the tip of the peninsula at 23 North latitude. It is well distributed in mainland Mexico. Three small shrubs grow on a rocky hillside overlooking Rodriguez Dam east of Tijuana, Mexico; numerous others are scattered in the barren hills to the northeast. Also known from tropical America.

Status: The Sweet Acacia is almost extirpated as a native plant in California. Taxonomic concerns still surround the identity of the San Diego County and northern Baja California plants; some reputable botanists still maintain this population is best referred to Acacia minuta (M.E. Jones) ssp. minuta, the Coastal Scrub Acacia, and is native to the region. Although there is some doubt about whether the species is native or introduced, many shrubs immediately south of the U.S. border occupy relatively undisturbed habitat.


Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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