There are many different species of the genus Acacia and indigenous varieties grow in all of the world's continents except Europe. Many varieties of acacia are native to arid regions and as a result, evolved with thorns as a measure that reduces evapotranspiration and protects the plant from animals seeking water.

Some homeowners use this natural feature as a security measure to deter would-be burglars. The different species of Acacia number approximately 1,300. Australia is home to about three-fourths of all acacias, where they are known as wattles. Most other species are native to North America and Asia, where they are known as acacias.

Landscaping for Home Security

Some of the varieties of acacia produce thorns and many homeowners utilize it in their yards as a deterrent to intruders. Combined with other species that grow thorns or spines at varying heights, as well as other measures such as lighting, sensors, and alarm systems, acacias may prove an effective component of a security barrier.


The tremendous number of species has produced much variation in aesthetics. The genus' height ranges from as little as four-foot (1 and three-quarter meters) shrub to a tree reaching about eighty feet (twenty-four and one-half feet). They generally produce ovular or ovoid leaves and clusters of tiny five-petal flowers that may be white, yellow, cream, purple, or scarlet red. North American species feature variation in bark color with reddish, greenish-yellow, and whitish hues.


If you choose to use a thorn-bearing variety of acacia, you will likely also receive the benefit of its resistance to drought. Since these trees evolved in arid regions they adapt well to long periods without water. They require dry or moderately dry soil. However, species adapted to dry conditions do not adapt well to cold weather and also require full sun.

Insect predators include a type of larvae known scientifically as Cossus robiniae and Australian species may be attacked by the Acacia bug and scale insects. Also, the larvae of hepialid moths, bucculatricid moths, Turnip moths, and Brown-tail moths also feed on acacias. You should note that some Central American species of acacia attract ants in a symbiotic relationship in which the plant produces food for the ants and the ants protect the plant from predatory insects.


African acacias are the source of gum arabic, used in many industrial products and some species are used for tannin. Carpenters consider the bark of some species, especially the North American species, Red Locust, to be excellent quality noting its strength, durability, and elasticity. However many other species are rigid and subject to breakage.

Acacias offer few medicinal benefits, but the bark of some varieties may be boiled and concentrated to produce an astringent. Many believe that a variety of acacia is the Shittah tree used to produce the Ark of The Covenant. It also figures prominently in freemasonry folklore and is a symbol of love for Native Americans.

Some kinds of acacia may present a valuable addition to a security barrier with its prickly thorns. Species that feature thorns offer tremendous drought resistance and are well suited for warm and dry conditions. With the enormous variety of species available the homeowner is likely to find a species suitable for his/her own aesthetic tastes.