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Havardia pallens (Benth.) Britton & Rose

Tenaza, huajillo, ape’s earring, guajilla, mimosa-bush

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderFabalesLegumes (pea and bean families)
FamilyFabaceaeLegume family (peas and beans)

About plant names...

Tenaza is a North American native from Texas and Mexico.

Plants: This is a shrub or small tree 10-20′ (3-6.1 m) tall, and about the same around. The trunk has paired straight spines and smooth, thin bark that is gray or sometimes reddish in color.

Leaves: Grayish green, bipinnate, 4-6″ (10-15 cm) long, with 7-20 pinnae (pairs of leaflets), each with 30-40 leaflets.

Flowers: Fragrant flowers are cream-colored, ball-shaped, ½-1″ (1.3-2.5 cm) in diameter, appearing from May to mid-September. They are often described as “cream-colored puffballs.”

Fruits: Brown bean-like seedpods are flat, velvetlike, 2-5″ (5-12 cm) long.

Edibility: Not edible. Said to be psychoactive.

Online References:

George and Audrey DeLange's Arizona wildflower site

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

The Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M University, Texas A&M System


Pithecellobium pallens (Benth.) Standl.


Havardia pallens description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 14 Sep 2020.

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Havardia pallens (tenaza, huajillo, ape’s earring, guajilla, mimosa-bush)

5/25/2009 · Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior, Ari­zona · ≈ 2½ × 1¾″ (7.1 × 4.7 cm) ID is uncertain

Range: Zones 8b-11:

About this map...