Classification of the genus Acacia (in the wider sense) has been subject to considerable debate. It is generally agreed that there are valid reasons for breaking it up into several distinct genera, but there has been disagreement over the way this should be done. As of 2017, it is widely (but not completely) accepted that the section that includes the majority of the Australian species (including this one) should retain the name Acacia, whilst other sections of the genus should be transferred to the genera Acaciella, Mariosousa, Senegalia and Vachellia[
Racosperma cambagei (R.T.Baker) Pedley
Common Name: Gidgee
Acacia cambagei is a tree with a moderately dense, spreading crown; it can grow from 4 - 15 metres tall[
]. The tree can have one to several main stems - where there is only one stem it can be up to 30cm in diameter[
]. Although it produces true leaves as a seedling, llike most members of this section of the genus, the mature plant does not have true leaves but has leaf-like flattened stems called phyllodes[
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use of its wood.
Especially in times of drought, many Acacia species can concentrate high levels of the toxin Hydrogen cyanide in their foliage, making them dangerous for herbivores to eat.
Australia - northern South Australia, Northern Territory, northern New South Wales, Queensland
Tolerates a wide range of soils but occurs most commonly in dark cracking clay or loam, growing as scattered individuals or in dense, almost pure stands; at elevations up to 500 metres[
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Acacia cambagei is a plant of arid and semi-arid regions of central, northern and eastern Australia, where it is found at elevations up to 500 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 30°c, but can tolerate 5 - 40°c[
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -1°c, but young growth is more tender and can be severely damaged at -1°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 200 - 500mm, but tolerates 125 - 600mm[
Requires a sunny position. Found mainly in heavier soils that can be quite alkaline, preferring well-drained conditions though tolerating occasional inundation. Tolerant of moderately slaine soils. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7.5, tolerating 5.5 - 8.5[
]. The plant can withstand droughts of up to 5 months[
The plant can regenerate from suckers and basal shoots.
The tree has a moderate rate of growth.
The tree emits a strong, rather offensive smell during humid or wet weather. The foetid odour of this species, and of the related Acacia georginae, also occurs in Acacia pachycarpa[
Acacia cambagei is related to and perhaps only subspecifically distinct from Acacia georginae; the two may be difficult to distinguish where their geographic ranges meet. An important biochemical difference is that the foliage of Acacia georginae is highly toxic to grazing animals whereas this species is commonly eaten in some regions, even under drought conditions.
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The bark of all Acacia species contains greater or lesser quantities of tannins and are astringent. Astringents are often used medicinally - taken internally, for example. they are used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery, and can also be helpful in cases of internal bleeding. Applied externally, often as a wash, they are used to treat wounds and other skin problems, haemorrhoids, perspiring feet, some eye problems, as a mouth wash etc[
Many Acacia trees also yield greater or lesser quantities of a gum from the trunk and stems. This is sometimes taken internally in the treatment of diarrhoea and haemorrhoids[
The tree can provide shade and shelter[
]. The plant has sometimes been used in rehabilitation projects on mine waste sites.
The flowers are a useful source of pollen for bees.
The heartwood is a dark reddish-brown to almost black; it is clearly demarcated from the pale yellow sapwood. The wood is hard, very heavy, close-grained, often interlocked, and is both durable and termite-resistant. It has been widely used for fence posts.
The wood makes an excellent fuel and a good charcoal. It burns with intense heat whether it is green or dry, and if burnt alone the heat may buckle firebars. The ash content is high, in the range 6 - 8% in charcoal.
Unlike most acacias, the seeds of this species have a thin seedcoat and will usually germinate without pretreatment. The use of boiling water to hasten germination can be harmful.
Acacia seeds that have matured fully on the bush and have been properly dried have a hard seed coat and can be stored in closed containers without deterioration for 5 - 10 years or more in dry conditions at ambient temperatures. It is best to remove the aril, which attracts weevils and can lead to moulds forming. The arils are easilyremoved by placing the seeds in water and rubbing them between the hands, then drying the seeds and winnowing them[
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