Scientific Name: Acacia
Plant Family: Fabaceae
More than 1,300 species have been described in the genus Acacia, but molecular studies have now revealed that this large genus must be separated into five segregate genera to represent natural evolutionary lineages. The great majority of species occur in Australia and these retain the generic name Acacia (a very controversial story). MEMBG has representatives of Australian acacias and also three of the new smaller new genera, including Mariosousa willardiana from the Sonoran Desert of Mexico. The common name of this multi-stemmed shrubby tree is palo blanco referring to its smooth white trunk with peeling bark. This species can be quite a stunning focal point in a desert garden. Although palo blanco briefly displays small compound leaves, the major photosynthetic organs are flattened green stems. A compound extracted from the leaves, willardiine, has been used in neurobiology research.