From Australia with love, acacia trees have become a common sight in Southern California, whether you know it or not. Beauty and climate appropriate – may I introduce your new best friend, the acacia tree!
Acacia cultriformis (Knife Acacia) in spectacular bloom
Acacia is the genus name for a far-reaching type of tree. There are over a hundred different species within this genus, which is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae). Just a moment ago I said that they are from Australia, which is true, but many species are also native to parts of Africa. You would recognize them if you saw them; they have an iconic look. Oh wait, this is a blog – I can show you a picture…
Acacia trees cast an iconic silhouette on the African Savannah
Many acacia trees evolved in arid climates, much like Southern California. This water saving ability has made them well adapted as landscape plants with aesthetic beauty and low maintenance needs.
Creative Concepts Landscape has found through years of experience that acacia trees are one of the most appropriate landscape plants for a variety of properties.
Acacias make excellent landscape trees for their relatively compact size (generally), low maintenance needs, low water needs, and aesthetic beauty.
Aesthetics in the Landscape – Acacia Trees
Because acacia is a genus with many different species, there is no one look when describing them. With that said, there are some fairly common traits throughout the genus, traits that make them excellent choices as a landscape plant here in Southern California.
Acacia trees are often best known for their stunning yellow pompom blooms. Not all acacias have yellow flowers, but it is common enough that it has become highly associated with them.
Acacia’s stunning yellow pompom blooms are a crowd pleaser
Many acacias have distinct leaves that are divided among many leaflets, given them a feathery look. This is not true of all acacias, however in Southern California landscape planting, the single most common acacia type, Acacia baileyana, has these leaflets.
The feathery leaflets of many acacia trees give them a distinct look
The leaves of another common Southern California acacia, Acacia cultriformis, are larger and blade-like. While fairly stiff, these leaves do not cut like blades, and the tree’s smaller size makes them a perfect choice in the landscape when space is more limited, or there are utility lines overhead.
The blade-like leaves of Acacia cultriformis – don’t worry, they don’t cut like blades
Although slightly larger, Acacia baileyana, is still compact enough to fit snugly into even a smaller landscape. These trees have become a common sight throughout Southern California. Their blueish grey color is quite attractive even during non-blooming seasons, and their low maintenance and low water needs has secured their position as a favorite landscape plant.
Shaped Acacia baileyana trees in a Los Angeles parkway. Although situated here in a lawn, these trees actually do not need much supplemental irrigation once they are established.
Let’s take another look at those soft, dream-like yellow flowers of Acacia baileyana.
How can you say ‘no’ to this landscape beauty?
Beauty and function. Creative Concepts Landscape is a fan. Have us plant one in your landscape and you will be too.
What’s in a Name?
Did I mention that many acacias have thorns? I did not. Well, many do, however the most common landscape acacias in Southern California do not. Still, throughout their native habitats one will fine menacing thorns protecting these trees.
The menacing thorns of Acacia greggii
With that in mind, where does the name ‘acacia’ come from? What is the meaning of this? The word ‘acacia’ comes from the Greek word, ‘akakia.’ ‘Akakia’ comes from the Greek base-word, ‘ake,’ which means ‘thorn.’
The Greeks came across acacias in Egypt, which had pronounced thorns, and the name stuck. However, as mentioned before, the acacia types that Creative Concepts Landscape plants do not have thorns, unless that’s what you want, of course.
To further show acacia’s friendly, non-thorned, side, here’s a jolly specimen:
Acacia baileyana in the Christmas spirit. We’ve been good boys and girls – no thorns necessary.
Do you have a landscape project in mind? Whether it’s planting acacia trees, or repairing irrigation, Creative Concepts Landscape will be happy to discuss possibilities with you. Take a look at our Yelp page and contact us today (818 248-7436), to see what we can do for your landscape.
Creative Concepts Landscape will beautify your property
By Daniel Williams
Client Liaison for Creative Concepts Landscape Management