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Research and Conservation in Southern Sonora, Mexico

Acacia cochliacantha (huinolo, boatspine acacia)

Huinolo is an abundant shrub or small tree in tropical deciduous forest and thornscrub; it also occurs in the southern margin of Sonoran Desertscrub. This aggressive pioneer plant is often the dominant woody plant in disturbed habitats.


Sapling Acacia cochliacantha in cleared field near Alamos, Sonora. Photo: Mark Dimmitt

Spines and foliage on a juvenile stem of Acacia cochliacantha. Spines are smaller or absent on mature stems. Photo: Mark Dimmitt

Foliage and green pods of Acacia cochliacantha. Photo: Mark Dimmitt
 

 

Young (left) and older bark of Acacia cochliacantha. Photos: Mark Dimmitt

 


Acacia cochliacantha colonizing an unmaintained buffelgrass pasture in Alamos, Sonora. Photo: Mark Dimmitt

Huinolo is one of the few plants that can establish in abandoned buffelgrass pastures in TDF, shading out the grass in a few years. Over the following couple of decades the huinolo is then succeeded by a diverse tropical deciduous forest community. In contrast, conversion of thornscrub and desert to buffelgrass is not only more or less permanent, the buffelgrass invades and converts undisturbed contiguous habitat via fire.

Acacia cochliacantha occurs from northern Sonora to Chiapas.