Animal feed resources information system

Did you find the information you were looking for? Is it valuable to you? Feedipedia is encountering funding shortage. We need your help to keep providing reference-based feeding recommendations for your animals.
Would you consider donating? If yes, please click on the button Donate.

Any amount is the welcome. Even one cent is helpful to us!

Huizache (Acacia farnesiana)


Click on the "Nutritional aspects" tab for recommendations for ruminants, pigs, poultry, rabbits, horses, fish and crustaceans
Common names 

Huizache, huisache, aroma, aromo creole, aromo macho, bayahonda, cachito, carbonero; cashia, coromo, espinial, espino blanco, rayo [Spanish]; cassie flower; fragrant acacia; huisache, mimosa bush, opopanax, popinac, sweet acacia [English]; cassie, cassie ancienne, acacie odorante, cassier, mimosa doux, mimosa de Farnèse [French]; antillenkazie [Dutch]


Acacia minuta (M. E. Jones) R. M. Beauch., Acacia smallii Isely, Mimosa farnesiana L., Pithecellobium minutum M. E. Jones, Vachellia densiflora Alexander ex Small, Vachellia farnesiana (L.) Wight & Arn.

Taxonomic information 

In the 2000s, molecular phylogenetic studies resulted in the controversial transfer of many Acacia species into the genera Vachellia, Senegalia, Mariosousa and Acaciella, with only Australian species remaining the Acacia genus (Kyalangalilwa et al., 2013). The current accepted taxon of Acacia farnesiana is thus Vachellia farnesiana. However, since most of the scientific literature refers to Acacia farnesiana, this latter taxon is used is the datasheet.

Related feed(s) 

Huizache (Acacia farnesiana (L.) Willd. or Vachellia farnesiana (L.) Wight & Arn.) is a tropical leguminous shrub native of Central and South America. It is fast-growing, showy, thorny, evergreen or almost evergreen. Huizache is a multipurpose species: it produces gum, its fragrant flowers are used to make perfumes and it can be cut to make forage for small ruminants. The shrub also hosts the lac insect and is attractive to bees.


Huizache can be cultivated as a shrub or small-sized tree that grows to a height of 1-10 m depending on the plant management. It can live 20- 50 years. It has a deep vertical taproot. The trunk is short and thin, many-branched from the base. The bark is smooth and becomes fissured with lenticels at maturity. The crown is rounded, 2-3 m in diameter. The branches are ascending, sometimes horizontally borne, armed with 0.6-2.5 cm long thorns at the nodes. Young twigs are dark brown in colour with light-colored dots. The leaves are alternate, leathery and bipinnate, 2-8 cm long, bearing 2-7 pairs of primary pinnae each bearing 10-25 pairs of leaflets. The flower-heads are axillary borne, solitary or grouped by 2-3, yellow in colour. The flowers are ball-shaped, bright yellow in colour. The fruit is a pod that is reddish brown to black when mature. It has a subcylindrical and slightly curved shape and it becomes dehiscent as it matures. Pods remain on the tree after maturity. The seeds are kidney-shaped, 6-8 mm long, sweet scented. The seedcoat is waterproof (CABI, 2018; Vázquez Yanes et al., 1999).


Huizache is a valuable multipurpose species and all parts of the shrub can be used. The foliage and the pods are palatable to livestock and can be used as forage, especially in dry areas. The seeds are relished by birds. The flowers provide much appreciated essential oils for perfumes: in France it has been one of the most important acacia species (with A. dealbata and A. caven) for the French perfume industry in Grasse in the 19th and 20th centuries (Castellana et al., 2012). Green pods yield a sticky substance used as a glue and the trunk provides gum that is used as an arabic gum substitute. The bark and pods are useful for dyeing and tannins. The wood is used for posts, tools, and furniture it also makes valuable firewood. The tree can be planted as a fence and an ornamental scented species. It can also be useful for erosion control and is hase been used along roadsides, highways and parkings. Huizache provides nesting cover for wildlife (CABI, 2018; Vázquez Yanes et al., 1999; Gilman et al., 1993).


Huizache is a tropical to subtropical species that is thought to have originated from Central America (CABI, 2018). In the Americas, it occurs from southern USA to Mexico and southwards to Argentina (Erkovan et al., 2016). It has been introduced to the Old World by Spaniards (CABI, 2018). It was first described in Europe in 1625 after the observation of a specimen brought from Santo Domingo and grown in the gardens of the Villa Farnese in Rome, Italy, hence the epithet "farnesiana" (Bell et al., 2017). Huizache may have arrived in Australia before English settlement, thus advocating for an oceanic dispersal from Mexico through the Pacific Ocean to the northern coast of Australia (Bell et al., 2017). In Australia, huizache is referred to as an invasive species (CABI, 2018).

Huizache can be found in both hemispheres from 33 (-36)° S to 33°N, and from sea level up to 1000 - 1500 (-2000) m altitude. It is found in places where annual mean temperature range is 15-28°C. Huizache is a versatile, drought-hardy species, only dropping its leaves during dry spells. It is tolerant to frost in Mediterranean climates. It grows on a wide range of soils from acidic to alkaline, saline or clayey soils, preferably well-drained (Fern, 2014; Erkovan et al., 2016; Gilman et al., 1993). Huizache is a full sunlight shrub and it can survive fire since it regrows from basal shoots (Erkovan et al., 2016).

Forage management 

Huizache can be propagated by seeds or cuttings (Gilman et al., 1993). Seed viability is very high: seeds can survive 150 years thanks to their hard seedcoat. Natural conditions like fire, high temperatures, light abrasion and consumption by animals can break seed dormancy (Erkovan et al., 2016). Germination occurs within 3-4 weeks. The seedlings quickly produce a long taproot and do not withstand disturbance: it is thus necessary to transplant them as soon as possible (Fern, 2014). Once established, huizache is a fast growing species able to regrow after damage or top removal. Soil disturbance and control of competing vegetation are valuable methods to improve growth and natural regeneration of huizache: pure stands can develop in only 2 to 3 growing seasons (Erkovan et al., 2016).

Environmental impact 

Invasive species

Huizache is referred to as an invasive species, both in its native regions (Mexico, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas) and where it has been introduced (Indonesia, Iraq, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Australia, French Polynesia, Solomon Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu)(CABI, 2018).

Soil improver and erosion control

Huizache is a N-fixing tree that has positive effects on the nitrogen status of the soil (Erkovan et al., 2016; Herrera-Arreola et al., 2007). It increases soil organic matter when it drops its leaves, thus improving soil structure and subsequent water infiltration (Herrera-Arreola et al., 2007). Huizache can bind sandy soils (Erkovan et al., 2016).

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 


Huizache foliage is relatively rich in protein (about 20% DM), with a crude fibre content of about 30% . Its protein content is quite high in comparison to the other plants available at the same period in the same area (Boubekeur et al., 2017; Ramirez et al., 1997a; Corniaux et al., 1996). The nutritive value huizache browse is better in summer and autumn than in winter (Ramirez et al., 2001).

Pods and seeds

Huizache pods have a rather low to moderate nutritive value (protein about 14% DM, sometimes less than 10% DM), possibly due to the large presence of phenols. Like most legume seeds, huizache seeds are rich in crude protein (> 20% DM).

Potential constraints 

Huizache foliage, pods and seeds contains variable amounts of phenols and condensed tannins. Pods may contain up to 10% DM of condensed tannins (Garcia-Winder et al., 2009). Very high amounts of total phenols (about 40% DM) have been reported in pods (Olivares-Pérez et al., 2019) and browse (Cuchillo et al., 2013). Seeds contain small amounts of trypsin inhibitors (0.06 TIU/mg) (Ortega-Nieblas et al., 1996).


A thorny species, Acacia farnesiana is eaten by small ruminants and camels rather than by cattle. Small ruminants browse branches and leaves from the tree. They might also receive some parts, like seeds and hulls. It is palatable to deer that might be in competition for food with small ruminants (Ramirez et al., 1997b). The nutritive value of huizache can be of interest during the dry season in Mexico compared to the other plants available at that time (Landa-Becerra et al., 2016).


Compared to other locally available plants, huizache is of nutritional interest for small ruminants due to its high protein content, low fibre content and high digestibility (Garcia-Montes de Oca et al., 2011; Corniaux et al., 1996). Huizache shrubs are of interest as supplementary feed for goats : the nitrogen utilization and intake levels were similar to those of goats offered lucerne hay (Ramirez et al., 1997a).


OM digestibility values of huizache browse estimated with the gas production method are quite low, in the 26-37% range. Treatment with polyethylene glycol (PEG), which counteracts the defaunating effect of tannins and reduces their astringency, increased OM digestibility up to 40% (by 14 percentage points in one case) (Olivares-Pérez et al., 2014; Monforte-Briceño et al., 2005).


Huizache is one of the preferred browse plants by goats in Mexico because it shows smooth and waxy leaf surfaces without trichomes (Foroughbakhch et al., 2012; Franco-Guerra et al., 2011; Franco-Guerra et al., 2008; Ramirez et al., 1997a). It was found to be palatable to goats in Zimbabwe (Reiss et al., 1990), though less palatable than Guazuma ulmifolia in Mexico (Villa-Herrera et al., 2010).

Mineral composition

The mineral composition of Acacia farnesiana foliage was found to be less variable than that other browse species in Mexico, and the Ca, Mg, K and Mn levels meet adult goat requirements, but animals need to be supplemented in P, Zn and Cu (Ramirez et al., 2001)..


Huizache pods are relished by sheep and goats and are a good source of protein source that can be incorporated into small ruminant feeding systems in arid and semi-arid regions. In Mexico, sheep preferred them to pods of Acacia macilenta but preferred those of Acacia cochliacantha (Rojas-Hernandez et al., 2016; Quiroz-Cardoso et al., 2015). Dry and ground pods of huizache could be utilized in the feeding of wool sheep up to 40% of the diet in combination with maize stover, without signs of toxicity (Velázquez Avendaño et al., 2005). With isoproteic diets incorporating up to 40 % pods, the optimal inclusion rate was 20% to obtain the highest voluntary intake and wool growth at the lowest cost (Velázquez et al., 2011a). However, authors recommended a maximum inclusion rate of 12% (Garcia-Winder et al., 2009).

Huizache pods included in nutritional blocks as a feed supplement increased DM intake in sheep, without affecting diet digestibility and weight gain (Rojas-Hernandez et al., 2015). Low amounts of Acacia farnesiana pods affected positively the digestibility and feed intake of low quality roughage by sheep due to their high protein content (Ramirez et al., 1998).


No information found (as of 2019).


No information could be found about the use of huizache seeds for poultry though it was reported to be relished by birds (Gilman et al., 1993).



Information available in the international literature on the use of huizache leaves as forage for rabbits is very scarce (August 2019). It has been claimed that this shrubby plant is browsed by rabbits (Erkovan et al., 2016) and it was observed that rabbits cut the top of huizache seedlings, but do not eat the whole young growing plant (Meyer et al., 1982). In Columbia, Acacia farnesiana was listed as a potential forage for smallholder rabbit farms, though a less promising one than Erythrina spp., Gliricidia sepium and Trichantera gigantea (Solarte, 1989).

Pods and seeds

Information on the use of huizache pods in rabbit feeding is very scarce. In the Gran Canaria Island, local wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) consume huizache pods all year round. The pods are incompletely digested, as 10% of the seeds are recovered intact and viable in the rabbits droppings, which shows that rabbits play a role in the dissemination of this plant (Pascual et al., 2009). Whole ground huizache pods may thus be considered as a potential feed for rabbit feeding, mainly as source of energy, due to their moderate protein content and fibre . However, due to the presence of trypsin inhibitors and tannins, and considering the lack of feed trials, the inclusion rate of huizache pods in rabbit diets should not exceed 10%.

Nutritional tables

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 41.1   37.1 45.2 4  
Crude protein % DM 19.8 4.9 13 31.1 10  
Crude fibre % DM 26.6 6.2 17.9 34.1 5  
Neutral detergent fibre % DM 40.6 7.9 31.3 50 7  
Acid detergent fibre % DM 23.9 3.6 19.1 29.5 7  
Lignin % DM 13.1   9.9 15.8 3  
Ether extract % DM 3.2 1.5 1 4.9 6  
Ash % DM 5.1 2.3 2.4 9.6 8  
Insoluble ash % DM 0.3   0.3 0.3 2  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 19.5       1 *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 14.1 8.6 5 25.9 5  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 2 0.8 1.2 3 5  
Potassium g/kg DM 11.1   7.9 14.3 2  
Sodium g/kg DM 0.21   0.1 0.32 2  
Magnesium g/kg DM 8.5       1  
Manganese mg/kg DM 34       1  
Zinc mg/kg DM 30       1  
Copper mg/kg DM 4       1  
Iron mg/kg DM 110       1  
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Tannins (eq. tannic acid) g/kg DM 10   0.2 30 2  
Tanins, condensed (eq. catechin) g/kg DM 20   0 30 4  
Ruminants nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 30          
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 28.6         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 5.6         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 4.4         *
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=6%) % 48       1 *
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=4%) % 52       1 *
a (N) % 27       1  
b (N) % 42       1  
c (N) h-1 0.06       1  
Dry matter degradability (effective, k=6%) % 49   49 57 2 *
Dry matter degradability (effective, k=4%) % 52       1 *
a (DM) % 36       1  
b (DM) % 30       1  
c (DM) h-1 0.05       1  

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Carranza-Montano et al., 2003; CIRAD, 1991; Johnson et al., 1918; Landa-Becerra et al., 2016; Monforte-Briceño et al., 2005; Olivares-Pérez et al., 2014; Ramirez et al., 1997; Ramirez et al., 1997; Zhou et al., 2011

Last updated on 03/11/2019 01:11:13

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 86.4 13.9 58.6 97.8 6  
Crude protein % DM 13.9 3 9.4 18 10  
Crude fibre % DM 15.5 4.7 8.5 19.8 5  
Neutral detergent fibre % DM 34.8 14.7 23 53.7 5  
Acid detergent fibre % DM 26.3 13.5 16.2 44.3 5  
Lignin % DM 11   8.5 13.4 2  
Ether extract % DM 1.5 0.5 0.8 2 7  
Ash % DM 3.9 0.8 2.7 5.2 10  
Insoluble ash % DM 0.03       1  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.6         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 9.6   3.3 20 3  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1.7   1.2 2 3  
Potassium g/kg DM 10.6       1  
Sodium g/kg DM 0.84       1  
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Tannins (eq. tannic acid) g/kg DM 70   8 130 2  
Tanins, condensed (eq. catechin) g/kg DM 40   9 100 4  
Ruminants nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 34          
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 32.5         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 6         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 4.9         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Carranza-Montano et al., 2003; CIRAD, 1991; Cuchillo et al., 2013; Garcia-Montes de Oca et al., 2011; Garcia-Winder et al., 2009; Gurney, 1934; Olivares-Pérez et al., 2019; Quiroz-Cardoso et al., 2015; Rojas-Hernandez et al., 2016; Velázquez et al., 2011

Last updated on 03/11/2019 01:17:47

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 88.9       1  
Crude protein % DM 22.5   20.9 23.5 3  
Crude fibre % DM 18.3       1  
Neutral detergent fibre % DM 38.2         *
Acid detergent fibre % DM 23.4         *
Ether extract % DM 2.4   2.3 2.5 2  
Ash % DM 3.4   1.5 5 3  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.9         *
Amino acids Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Isoleucine g/16g N 2.3       1  
Leucine g/16g N 6       1  
Lysine g/16g N 7       1  
Methionine+cystine g/16g N 1.6       1 *
Phenylalanine g/16g N 3.7       1  
Threonine g/16g N 3.1       1  
Tryptophan g/16g N 0.9 0.07 0.7 1.2 249  
Valine g/16g N 5       1  
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 3.9       1  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 2.7       1  
Ruminants nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 83.8         *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 82.6         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 12.5         *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 77         *
Rabbit nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Energy digestibility, rabbit % 62.2         *
DE rabbit MJ/kg DM 11.8         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Barrientos-Ramirez et al., 2012; Gurney, 1934; Ortega-Nieblas et al., 1996

Last updated on 03/11/2019 12:09:41

Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., Tran G., Giger-Reverdin S., Lebas F., 2019. Huizache (Acacia farnesiana). Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/353 Last updated on November 3, 2019, 15:57