The Sweet Acacia is a deciduous shrub or a small tree with feathery, light green leaves and globose clusters of very fragrant, bright yellow flowers. The flowers are used to make perfume. A 15-20 ft., multi-trunked tree or shrub. Branchlets spiny and bearing finely divided leaves, each of the many leaflets less than 1/4 inch long. The bipinnately compound foliage is light-green and ferny. Small, fragrant, orange-yellow flowers 1/2 inch in diameter cluster in globose heads with many protruding stamens per flower. Fruit a reddish brown to black woody pod 1 1/2 to 3 inches long, rounded, not flat, and tapered at both ends. It is native to Southern North America from southern California east to southern Florida, south through Mexico and Central America to northern South America. It grows in sandy soils in pinelands. Sweet Acacia is grown as a native plant, a flowering plant, and in xeriscaping. It grows in full sun and is drought tolerant so it is cultivated in desert regions. The common name, Huisache, is derived from Nahuatl and means many thorns. In southern Europe this species is extensively planted for the flowers, which are a perfume ingredient. It has a fast growth rate and is easy to grow. Hardy in zones 9-12.
The seeds have a hard seed coat that has to be treated, or scarified, in order for water to enter the seeds so that they can sprout.
- Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat.
- Soak the seed in water for 12 hours.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Put the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the seeds.
- Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun. The seeds germinate in 3-4 weeks.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.