Leucaena retusa

Leucaena retusa.jpeg

Leucaena retusa
J. Charboneau

Leucaena retusa fruits

Botanical Name

Leucaena retusa Bentham

Common Name(s)

  • golden-ball lead tree

Legume Clades

Native Geographic Range

  • Southwestern North America

IUCN Status

Growth Form

small tree

Cultivation Status in AZ

Occasionally cultivated


Cold-deciduous small trees to 26 ft (8 m) high. The bark is pale brown and becomes rough and fissured with age. Leaves are bipinnate with 3--5 pairs of pinnae. Each pinna has 4--8 pairs of leaflets. Yellow flowers are produced in large, spherical inflorescences in the spring.


Native to northeastern Mexico and portions of southwestern Texas, and extreme southern New Mexico where it grows on slopes and in canyons in pine-oak woodland, oak-juniper woodland, tropical dry forest, and thornscrub.


None reported.


Golden-ball lead tree is suitable as a patio tree due to its small size. The flowers are attractive. Growth rate is moderate with irrigation. This species tolerates a variety of soils and will grow in rocky sites. The plants are hardy to at least 10° F (-12° C). Prune when young to encourage a tree form. Twigs and sometimes limbs will periodically die and can be removed. Fallen leaflets and fruits create minor litter issues.