Prairie Acacia, also known as fern acacia, is a native, warm season perennial legume that forms dense, shrubby colonies 3-5’ in height with white flowers. It is an outstanding native legume for livestock and wildlife, and produces copious amounts of forage. The seeds are eaten by quail. For southern Texas, it is a valuable pollinator plant, especially during drought and in late summer through fall. Prairie acacia is thornless and often spreads by underground rhizomes. This species has multiple uses including as a component of range and wildlife habitat restoration efforts, as a hardy perennial food plot plant for white-tailed deer and other wildlife, for pollinator plantings, and for ecological restoration efforts on former prairies and grasslands, especially in Blackland and sandy loam range sites.
Prairie acacia was historically common throughout Texas but has been eliminated from much of its former range by overgrazing and soil disturbance. Rio Grande Prairie Acacia is a blend of three collections from McMullen, Webb, and Dimmitt counties selected for release by the Texas Native Seeds Program and the USDA NRCS Kingsville Plant Materials Center. The release has shown broad adaptation to and excellent performance in the southern half of Texas on a wide range of soils. For plantings in the northern half of the state, Plains Prairie Acacia is a good option.
Planting: Plant in early spring or late summer-early fall at a rate of 1.5-2 lbs. pure live seed (PLS) per acre at 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.
Soil: Medium to fine textured soils
Height: 3-4 feet
Type: Warm Season Perennial
Region: Rio Grande Plains, Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes, Edwards Plateau, Trans Pecos
For more information: Rio Grande Prairie Acacia Brochure from USDA NRCS