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PlantFiles: Tenaza, Apes-Earring, Huajillo, Guajillo, Mimosa bush
Havardia pallens

Family: Mimosaceae
Genus: Havardia (hav-AR-dee-uh) (Info)
Species: pallens (PAL-lenz) (Info)

Synonym:Havardia brevifolia
Synonym:Havardia nelsonii

One member has or wants this plant for trade.


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive southeastgarden On Sep 2, 2014, southeastgarden from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Two plants of 'Sierra Sparkler' and some seedlings have grown well in Jacksonville, Florida for several years. They are growing in high, sandy ground in sunny locations. It is an attractive small tree (so far) with fragrant, mimosa-like flowers that appear off and on through the summer.

Positive Juttah On Nov 8, 2011, Juttah from Tucson, AZ (Zone 8a) wrote:

A neat little shrub/tree that grows faster than I expected. The foliage is lush-looking yet delicate, and the white blooms "glow" especially at dusk. It does have spines but nothing worse than your average rose bush.

One oddity I haven't heard mentioned anywhere else ... on mine at least, the foliage and the spent blooms smell like cat pee! Not strong, but definitely noticeable. At first I assumed the plant was attracting tomcats, but the odor is detectable all over the plant, even on branches 4' off the ground.

Positive htop On Nov 10, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, Tx.
This evergreen large shrub or small tree is native to Arizona, Mexico and Texas. In Texas, it is native to Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy Counties and the coastal parts of the Rio Grande Plains; however, is also cultivated in other counties in Southwest Texas. Although it is found naturally by stream edges or near water holes, it adapts to dry locations as well and has a high heat tolerance.

The branches spread irregularly. The close grained wood is dark reddish-brown, very hard and covered with gray to reddish bark that breaks into tiny flakes. The wood is used to make small wooden objects because of its color and hardness. The airy branches produce small, mimosa type, delicate and pinnate leaves which goats and sheep enjoy munching. From May to August, fluffy fragrant white blooms appear especially after it rains. These blooms are similar to the mimosa tree's blooms and they attract bees. As a culitvated plant, it blooms more frequently. Tenazas' flowers attract bees, and sheep and goats browse the foliage. The 2 to 5 inch long lustrous seed pods are strikingly beautiful and change colors as they mature eventually turning a dark reddish brown. I can not fully describe the seed pods so I have posted a photo. The name, "Apes Earring", obviously is derived from the glossy multi-colored seed pods which have a loop at the top end which can be placed on the top of the ear so that the pods hang down like earrings. An unusual plant that is highly adaptable to many regions, the tenaza may gain in popularity in the cultivated landscape.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Maricopa, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona (2 reports)
Jacksonville, Florida
Brownsville, Texas
San Antonio, Texas

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