Vachellia vernicosa

Vachellia vernicosa.jpeg

Vachellia vernicosa inflorescences
J. Charboneau

Vachellia vernicosa inflorescences

Botanical Name

Vachellia vernicosa (Britton & Rose) Seigler & Ebinger

Common Name(s)

  • Chihuahuan whitethorn
  • vinorama (Spanish)

Legume Clades

Native Geographic Range

  • Southwestern North America

IUCN Status

Growth Form


Cultivation Status in AZ



Drought- and cold-deciduous upright shrubs with slender stems to 10 ft (3 m) high. The bark is smooth and gray to reddish purple. The stems have short, paired white spines at the nodes. The dark green, viscid leaves have 1--3 pairs of pinnae with 4--12 pairs of tiny leaflets per pinna. Yellow flowers are produced in small, spherical heads in the summer.


Native to parts of southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, and southwestern Texas, and widespread in the Chihuahuan Desert region in northern and central Mexico. The plants are found on rocky slopes and valleys, usually on limestone.


None reported.


Chihuahuan whitethorn is rarely available from nurseries specializing in desert plants. It is ideal for dry gardens where light shade is desired, and makes an effective silhouette against a wall. The dark green foliage contrasts nicely with the yellow, fragrant flowers. The spine stems make an effective barrier if the plants are closely spaced. This species if drought-tolerant. Plants are hardy to -5° F (-20° C). Litter is minimal.