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Common Name:

Goldenball Leadtree

Scientific Name:

Leucaena retusa

Family Name:

Leguminosae (Fabaceae)


Goldenball Leadtree is an underutilized Texas native small single or multi-stem tree. Used in West and South Texas as a small patio or courtyard tree. It casts a filtered shade and has outstanding bright yellow flowers spring to fall; largest flushes after rain events.

Plant Habit or Use:

Small tree


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Bright yellow powerpuffs of showy stamens

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer, fall

Fruit Characteristics:

Brown pods, 3 inch to 10 inch in length, not ornamental


15 ft to 25 ft


15 ft to 25 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

7, 8, 9, 10

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Soil pH adaptable, prefers good drainage, very drought tolerant, can withstand reflected heat. Branches tend to be brittle in high winds or under snow or ice loads.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.