by Stephen Mifsud
   25 Jul 2024      ()
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Vachellia farnesiana   (Sweet Acacia)

Vachellia farnesiana  (FABACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date JuL-2009 (taxon update: May-2022)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Vachellia farnesiana - datasheet created on JuL-2009. Retrieved from on 25-Jul-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Vachellia farnesiana(L.) Wight & Arn.
Published in Prodr. Fl. Ind. Orient. : 272 (1834)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Mimosa farnesiana L.
Synonym that was used for long in Malta: Acacia farnesiana (L.) Willd.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Fabaceae Lindl. (The Pea Family)
9 species from the Fabaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Sweet Acacia

Maltese name(s) :

Gażżija tax-xewk żgħir, Akaċja tax-xewk żgħir

Status for Malta :

Naturalised Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World) and spreads and integrates to form established, non-invasive populations. Species may become become invasive if it widespreads rapidly.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Macro-Phanerophyte ( high trees usually over 10 m high )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

March – May

Colour of Flowers:



Mildy toxic, can cause adverse conditions if consumed in large quantities

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

Cannot be planted in the wild (rural areas) since the species may be invasive (see ERA guidelines)

Remarks :

Closely related is the species Accacia karroo, with larger and more numerous thorns and more common in Malta. Acacia species are highly invasive and planned to be eridicated from our islands by local authorities. Planting of Acacia and Vachellia trees in now prohibited by Maltese Law.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Cultivated in S.W. Europe for ornament and for perfumery.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Cultivated along roadsides and as hedges in field borders, probably its importantion was mistook as V. Karroo which looks similar
Botanical Description: Shrub up to 4 m. Leaves deciduous, 2-pinnate, bright green, glabrous, with 3-8 pairs of pinnae; leaflets 10-25 pairs, 3-5 x 1-1.5 mm, linear-oblong; stipular spines on older branches 25 mm, straight. Capitula 10-12 mm in diameter, 2-3 together in axils of older leaves, rarely solitary; peduncles 1-2 cm, pubescent. Flowers bright yellow, fragrant. Legume 50-90 x 10-15 mm, cylindrical-fusiform, thick, dark brown.
Native region outside Europe: Dominican Republic

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Introduced in  France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), Sicily and/or Malta
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
[Ga(F) Hs(S) Ir It Le Si(S) Sy]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (7 images)
   Vachellia farnesiana   -   Image Code: VCHFA-0.
   Vachellia farnesiana   -   Image Code: VCHFA-1.
   Vachellia farnesiana   -   Image Code: VCHFA-2.
   Vachellia farnesiana   -   Image Code: VCHFA-3.
   Vachellia farnesiana   -   Image Code: VCHFA-4.
   Vachellia farnesiana   -   Image Code: VCHFA-5.
   Vachellia farnesiana   -   Image Code: VCHFA-6.

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Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
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Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
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