Acacia greggii – Catclaw Acacia

Acacia greggii - Catclaw Acacia (flowers)

Acacia greggii - Catclaw Acacia

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Acacia greggii

Common Name: Catclaw Acacia

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial, Deciduous

Growth Habit: Tree, Shrub

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert, Upland, Riparian

Flower Color: Pale yellow, Cream

Flowering Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Height: Up to 23 feet (7 m) tall, but usually less

Description: The flowers are densely clustered on cylindrical flower spikes. The flowers are followed by up to 6 inch (15 cm) long, flat, curled, green seedpods that dry to a dark brown color. The leaves are green, alternate, and bipinnately compound with oval leaflets. The branches have wickedly sharp, curved, cat claw-like thorns that can easily scratch skin and snag clothing. Close encounters with this plant can leave you looking like you were in a cat fight.

Special Characteristics

Butterfly Plant – The flowers attract butterflies and numerous other insects, especially bees.

Fragrant – The flowers are sweetly and intensely fragrant with a wonderful floral honey-like scent. Plants in full bloom can be smelled from 10 feet (3 m) or more away.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae – Pea family
Genus: Acacia Mill. – acacia
Species: Acacia greggii A. Gray – catclaw acacia

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map