Little-leaf lead tree, Golden ball lead tree

Leucaena retusa


Little-leaf lead tree is a small tree or loose shrub with multiple stems in the Legume Family that grows to be up to 25 feet tall. The bark remains gray to brown throughout its growth but changes from smooth to scaly.

Its leaves are bipinnately compounded and have 3 to 8 pairs of blue-green leaflets that are .5 to .75 inches long. In the spring it begins to explode with bright yellow-gold flowers and will continue to sporadically bloom new flowers in to October. The flowers are balls with a diameter of about 1 inch. The fruit is paper-thin, brown pods that are 4 to 10 inches long and mature in August.

Little-leaf leaf tree's leaves provide excellent forage for deer and livestock.


Little-leaf lead tree is found in poor, dry, rocky limestone soils and occasionally on hillsides and road sides.