Acacia auriculiformis

Earleaf acacia

Nonnative to FloridaFISC Category 1 Invasive

Species Overview

Origin: Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia 

Earleaf acacia was introduced into Florida in 1932 for use as an ornamental tree. 

Species Characteristics

  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Habit: Evergreen, unarmed tree to 15m (50 ft) tall, with compact spread, often multi-stemmed; young growth glaucous.
  • Leaves: Alternate, simple, reduced to flattened blade-like phyllodes slightly curved, 11–20 cm (5–8 in) long, with 3–7 main parallel veins
  • and a marginal gland near the base; surfaces dark green.
  • Flowers: Loose, yellow-orange spikes at leaf axils or in clusters of spikes at stem tips; flowers mimosa-like, with numerous free stamens.
  • Fruit: Flat, oblong pod, twisted at maturity, splitting to reveal seeds. The fruit resembles the shape of a human ear. 
  • Seeds: flat black seeds attached by orange, string-like arils
  • Distribution in Florida: primarily coastal, southern counties


Ecological threat: This fast-growing invasive tree has invaded pinelands, scrub, and hammocks in south Florida. Earleaf acacia displaces native vegetation and can shade out rare plants. Each mature tree can produce up to 47,000 seeds per year.

Earleaf acacia is not recommended by IFAS. It is listed as invasive in south Florida, a species of caution (requires management to prevent escape) in central Florida and not a concern in north Florida by the UF/IFAS Assessment. It is listed at a Category 1 invasive by FLEPPC

Control Methods

Preventive Measures

Regular monitoring and removal of plants can prevent the spread and establishment of earleaf acacia. Programs to educate homeowners on proper plant identification will also reduce the spread of this species. Native alternatives to earleaf acacia for use in home landscaping or natural areas include mastic (Masichodendron foetidissimum), mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni) and Florida soapberry (Sapindus saponaria).


Do not plant and if present, remove plant, root system, and seedlings promptly. Collect and destroy seeds.


Remove mature trees and saplings.


There are no known biological agents for earleaf acacia.

  • Cut stump: 50% Garlon 3A, 10% Milestone
  • Basal bark: 10% Garlon 4

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