Senegalia greggii

Accession Count: 5
Common Name: Catclaw Acacia
Family Name: Fabaceae
Botanical Name: Senegalia greggii
Synonyms:
Botanical Synonyms: Acacia greggii
Sub Species:
Variety:
Forma:
Cultivar:
Characteristics: Senegalia greggii is a small tree or deciduous shrub with an upright, mounding growth habit. As a shrub, its average height reaches five feet, and as a tree it ranges between 10 to 30 feet. Bark is gray-brown, becoming fissured and furrowed over time. Sharp, curved spines are distributed along branches at the internodes, hence the common name Catclaw. Leaflets are small, dull-green, and elliptic, forming an alternate leaf arrangement that is bi-pinnately compound. Another distinctive feature, in addition to the spines of S. greggii, are its bushy, creamy-white flowers. Flowers are monoecious and form on terminal spikes, blooming in the spring and early summer. As a leguminous shrub, fruit are twisted bean pods up to four inches, which persist throughout the winter (1, 2).
Compound: Sen gre
Geographic Origin: Desert Southwest
Ecozone Origin: Nearctic
Biome Origin:
Natural History: Senegalia greggii is native to California, with its distribution confined to western North America. The species’ epithet greggii honors Josiah Gregg (1806-1850), a botanist who explored southwestern United States and northern Mexico (2).
Cultivation Notes: This drought-tolerant shrub is normally found growing in harsh desert conditions within arid to semiarid southwestern regions. It is best cultivated by seed, exposed to full sun and grown in either acidic or alkaline soils that have low organic matter. Little to zero irrigation is need once established (3).
Ethnobotany: The pods of S. greggii are a source of food for Cahuilla and Havasupai Native Americans. Unripe pods are typically eaten fresh, or dried and grounded into meal to then be made into porridge and bread. The wood has been used in basketry and the building of hunting and fishing tools among Havasupai, O’odham, and Pima Native Americans. The Seri tribe have also used the wood for building tools and weapons, such as chisels, digging sticks, fish and turtle harpoons, and bows. Its medicinal uses include using the pods to make eyewash to treat conjunctivitis, also grounding leaves and pods into powder that prevents bleeding and soothes sore skin. As a tea it may treat diarrhea and dysentery, with the addition of its flowers it may also treat nausea and vomiting. The root may be brewed into a tea that treats sore throats, mouth inflammation, and coughs (3). Catclaw may be used as an ornamental in urban and xeric landscapes, serving as a screen and background plant. It also makes an excellent desert accent plant when in bloom (1).

Height: 11 - 15 feet
Width: 16 - 20 feet
Growth Rate: Moderate Growing
Grow Season: Summer
Flower Season: Spring
Color: Yellow
Function: Habitat
Spread: Spreading
Allergen: Allergenic
Invasive: Invasive
Toxicity: Benign
Hardy: Hardy
Water Use: Low water Use

Citations:
  1. Library of Arizona Landscape Plants. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  2. Virginia Tech Dendrology. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  3. U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved November 25, 2018. 
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Senegalia greggii