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Vachellia Species, Bee Wattle, Bulls-Horn Acacia, Bull's Horn Wattle

Vachellia sphaerocephala

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Vachellia
Species: sphaerocephala (sfay-ro-SEF-uh-luh) (Info)
Synonym:Acacia sphaerocephala



Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


Unknown - Tell us


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Scarify seed before sowing

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:

Sacramento, California

Dunnellon, Florida

Venice, Florida

Dallas, Texas

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 3, 2015, kimber41871 from Saint Cloud, FL wrote:

It's a very interesting plant but it produces to many. Does anyone have any ideas how to get rid of them?


On Mar 15, 2012, floramakros from Sacramento Valley, CA wrote:

Before you get too excited, since the plant you're getting was grown from seed at a nursery or by a private grower, not wild collected in the field where it's native, it will not contain the host/symbiotic ant. Same goes for ant ferns, those chubby little ant plants, ant vines etc. Even the ones covered with specialty food nodules for the ants will not attract native ants to nest in it, and if they do they won't have the same relationship with the plant, they might even chew and damage it. The symbiosis takes millions of years of working together. About the only insect that will be attracted to live/breed in those dark humid chambers are cockroaches, especially in Florida. I love ant plants, have species from throughout the new and old worlds, but none of them is occupied by their symbioti... read more


On Jun 4, 2006, lisapb864 from Boise, ID wrote:

Do you know if the ants are agressive toward people and pets? I think the plant is beautiful and would consider getting one if it would survive in the winter ( I live in Boise, ID) and if my cat and dogs (both labs) wouldn't get terribly harmed by the ants if they got too close.


On Dec 8, 2004, FranciscoSantos from Brasília,
Brazil wrote:

It's an easy plant to start from seed, since you scarify it. My seedlings are still a few centimeters high but they are doing quite well. The "bull horns" may injure distracted people, so be careful!


On Nov 7, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

According to killerplants.com, Acacia sphaerocephala is one of the five species known as Bee Wattle or Bull's-horn Acacia. The interesting thing about these species is the "ant" relationship, which is mutualistic. Here's how it works: Pseudomyrmex ferruginea, the type of ant with these species, cannot survive without these trees; nor so can the tree or they fall victim to competition from other plants. One of the thorns is first colonized by a single queen ant, which chews a hole in the thorn near the tip. She lays 15 to 20 eggs eventually inside the thorn. Soon, as the colony starts to grow, the ants disperse and move to other thorns. The ant colony becomes agressive once the population of ants reaches around 400 members, and drive out other ant colonies and kill any insects foraging for ... read more


On Apr 5, 2004, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is one of those plants that are beyond curious. The "horns" have that polished white look more akin to ivory than long horn steer. I would recommend to anyone interested in this plant to search it out with Google. It's an "ant plant" and there is lots of interesting lore and anecdotal information about it on the web.