Goldenball Leadtree

Leucaena retusa

Family: Mimosaceae
Genus: Leucaena (loo-KAY-nuh) (Info)
Species: retusa (re-TOO-suh) (Info)



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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

Anniston, Alabama

Marana, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas (2 reports)

Crawford, Texas

El Paso, Texas

Iredell, Texas

Lewisville, Texas

Mico, Texas

Round Rock, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Temple, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 7, 2016, fortapache from Lewisville, TX wrote:

I am a beekeeper. I went on a tour with Texas Master Gardeners today (May 7, 2016). The purpose of my going on the tour was to note the plants that were being visited by honeybees.

The first stop was a block away from my hives. I saw the Golden Ball Lead Tree in the yard with my bees all over it. I had been curious as to where they were getting the yellow pollen. I will have a few in my bee yard ASAP since I cannot rely on others to feed my bees.

The comment about bees not being interested in this tree does not agree with my observation.

They called it the Golden Lead Ball Tree.


On Aug 17, 2012, Juttah from Tucson, AZ (Zone 8a) wrote:

A pretty little tree that does very well here in the desert. No thorns or insect problems; very clean. Flowers are mildly fragrant up-close and not attractive to bees. It's a mystery why this tree is not more widely available here in Tucson.

We planted ours from a 1-gallon pot last year in bare soil. It took about a month for the tree to get comfortable and start growing. One year later we established a lawn around it, and it's not had any problems going from desert conditions to frequent lawn watering.

According to some sources this tree has brittle branches, but we've not had problems with our now 6' tall tree, not even after last week's 80 mph microburst! Growth rate is moderate and very easily controlled.

This tree tends to "lion tail" (bush... read more


On May 28, 2004, texasyardman from Austin, TX wrote:

We have one eight-year old specimen in our yard that receives maximum sunlight possible. Very upright habit with moderately spreading crown, it's currently about 22-24' high, but added growth this year. Tidy tree by our experience-no yard litter from seeds or pods. It's in flower now, and is quite distinctive with the blooms at the branch tips. Would highly recommend it.


On Mar 13, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This tree is a fast grower, It can grow 5 feet in one year but it will not go over 25 or 30 feet. I cut mine back a few feet every year to keep new growth going and it looks great. The blossoms are like little fuzzy balls and they have a lovely scent. The foliage is lacy and delicate. I love this tree.