Scientific: Vachellia bravoensis (formerly Acacia schaffneri)
Common: medusa vachellia, medusa acacia, twisted acacia
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Origin: Altiplano region of central and south central Mexico, north of Mexico City.

Pronounciation: Va-KEL-lee-a bra-voo-EN-sis

Hardiness zones
Sunset
8, 9, 12-24
USDA 9-11 (arid zones only)

Landscape Use: Strong, dominant accent, focal point, xeric and desert designs.

Form & Character: Partially deciduous to evergreen tree, twisting, turning, domineering, exotic.

Growth Habit: Vigorous to 25 feet with often greater spread.

Foliage/texture: Small pinnately compound leaves on coarse stems. Foliage masks prominent stipular thorns; coarse texture.

Flowers & fruits: Fragrant, golden yellow puff ball flowers followed by brown pods.

Seasonal color: Golden yellow in February/March.

Temperature: Tolerant

Light: Full sun

Soil: Well drained, or allow soil to dry between watering events once established.

Watering: Drought tolerant, plant vigor strongly, positively related to increased irrigation.

Pruning: Prune to an open and upright crown. Vigorously train for best shape and strong schaffold branches when young.

Propagation: Seed

Disease and pests: Various root rot pathogens in poorly drained sites.

Additional comments: An oddly interesting, but seldom used tree in the Phoenix area because of it's random branch architecture that is difficult to control and demands large amounts of space. Use this tree with much discretion because of it's medusa form which makes this plant such a strong accent. Not well suited for residential use.

I often think of this tree as palo brea's (Parkinsonia praecox) long lost ugly cousin because they both share a similar medusa-like crown structure.

The name change to the genus Vachellia occurred in 2005.