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Useful Tropical Plants

Acacia colei

Maslin & L.A.J.Thomson

Fabaceae


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[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Acacia holosericea auct.

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Acacia colei is usually a spreading shrub growing 2 - 4 metres tall and wide, occasionally becoming a single-stemmed tree up to 9 metres tall on more fertile sites[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
,
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
]. Although it produces true leaves as a seedling, like most members of this section of the genus, the mature plant does not have true leaves but has leaf-like flattened stems called phyllodes[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials - it was a moderately important food source for native Australians. Acacia colei (often under the name Acacia holosericea) is planted in Western Africa on an increasing scale for windbreaks, land rehabilitation and fuelwood production. Its seeds are highly nutritious and have vast potential as a new food crop for dry, sub-Saharan Africa[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
].

Known Hazards

The seed of many Acacia species, including this one, is edible and highly nutritious, and can be eaten safely as a fairly major part of the diet. Not all species are edible, however, and some can contain moderate levels of toxins[
1295
Title
Acacia in Australia: Ethnobotany and Potential Food Crop
Publication
Janick (ed.), Progress in new crops pp 228-236, (1996) ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
Author
Lister P.R.; Holford P.; Haigh T.; Morrison D.A.
Website
https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1996/v3-toc.html
Publisher
ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
Year
1996
ISBN
0-9615027-3-8
Description
 
]. Especially when harvesting from the wild, especial care should be taken to ensure correct identification of any plants harvested for food[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
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.

Botanical References

286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.

Range

Australia - Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland

Habitat

Acacia-dominated scrubs and tall open shrubland, often developing dense, nearly monotypic populations along dry, stony or sandy drainage lines in disturbed sites such as road verges, gravel pits and burnt areas, growing in a variety of soil types[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
]

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitShrub
Height3.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Acacia colei is a component of many semi-arid, subtropical to tropical plant communities in northern Australia, where it is found at elevations up to 450 metres[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
,
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
]. The mean annual temperature is around 25 - 27°c, rising to around 34 - 40°c in the hot season and falling to 8 - 16°c in the cool season. Light frosts happen occasionally in the most elevated locations. Rainfall is highly erratic, usually ranging from 230 - 725mm[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].
Requires a sunny position. The plant is well-adapted to grow on infertile sandy soils that are not adapted to conventional food crops, and can also grow in claypans[
1294
Title
Potential of Australian Acacias in combating hunger in semi-arid lands
Publication
Conservation Science W. Aust. 4 (3):161-169 (2002)
Author
Rinaudo A.; Patel P.; Thomson L.A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. Prefers a circumneutral soil, but can tolerate a pH ranging from 5.5 - 8.5[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
]. Established plants are drought tolerant.
Acacia colei is a fast-growing but short-lived species, with a life-span of only 3 - 10 years[
1294
Title
Potential of Australian Acacias in combating hunger in semi-arid lands
Publication
Conservation Science W. Aust. 4 (3):161-169 (2002)
Author
Rinaudo A.; Patel P.; Thomson L.A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
The plant can produce very heavy seed crops less than two years after planting and might have potential as a new human food in West Africa[
1294
Title
Potential of Australian Acacias in combating hunger in semi-arid lands
Publication
Conservation Science W. Aust. 4 (3):161-169 (2002)
Author
Rinaudo A.; Patel P.; Thomson L.A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. They have been tested for toxicity and human trials have indicated that, at levels up to 25% of the diet, no anti-nutritional factors have been observed[
1294
Title
Potential of Australian Acacias in combating hunger in semi-arid lands
Publication
Conservation Science W. Aust. 4 (3):161-169 (2002)
Author
Rinaudo A.; Patel P.; Thomson L.A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
Acacia colei has been used as an ornamental in west Africa, Thailand and northern Australia where its silvery foliage, mass flowering and wide adaptability to different soil types are highly valued[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].
The seeds of most acacia species can be quickly and efficiently harvested at full maturity without the need for any specialised equipment, e.g. when a crop is heavy one person can harvest 3-5 kilos of clean seed of Acacia colei or Acacia tumida per hour. Small seed-bearing branches can be cut and beaten on sheets, or bushes can be beaten or shaken directly onto large sheets[
1294
Title
Potential of Australian Acacias in combating hunger in semi-arid lands
Publication
Conservation Science W. Aust. 4 (3):161-169 (2002)
Author
Rinaudo A.; Patel P.; Thomson L.A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
In Niger, farmers prefer the curly-podded form (var. ileocarpa) because less seed is lost through shattering prior to harvest. In Australia the curved-podded form is preferred by seed collectors because the seed is more easily and completely dislodged from the pod during beating[
1294
Title
Potential of Australian Acacias in combating hunger in semi-arid lands
Publication
Conservation Science W. Aust. 4 (3):161-169 (2002)
Author
Rinaudo A.; Patel P.; Thomson L.A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
Yields of 4 - 6 kilos of seed have been obtained from the plant[
1294
Title
Potential of Australian Acacias in combating hunger in semi-arid lands
Publication
Conservation Science W. Aust. 4 (3):161-169 (2002)
Author
Rinaudo A.; Patel P.; Thomson L.A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
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[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].

Edible Uses

Seed - cooked[
1294
Title
Potential of Australian Acacias in combating hunger in semi-arid lands
Publication
Conservation Science W. Aust. 4 (3):161-169 (2002)
Author
Rinaudo A.; Patel P.; Thomson L.A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. It can be eaten in the same ways as other small legume seeds and is also ground into a powder then used as a flavouring in desserts or as a nutritious supplement to pastries and breads[
1295
Title
Acacia in Australia: Ethnobotany and Potential Food Crop
Publication
Janick (ed.), Progress in new crops pp 228-236, (1996) ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
Author
Lister P.R.; Holford P.; Haigh T.; Morrison D.A.
Website
https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1996/v3-toc.html
Publisher
ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
Year
1996
ISBN
0-9615027-3-8
Description
 
]. Traditionally, the dry seed was ground to a coarse flour, mixed with water and either eaten as a paste or baked to form a 'cake'[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
]. The seedpods are openly and strongly curved, 50 - 100mm long and 3.5 - 4mm wide, with very dark, brown to black, oblong seeds 4 - 4.5mm long[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
].
Acacia seeds are highly nutritious and contain around 26% protein, 26% available carbohydrate, 32% fibre and 9% fat. The fat content is higher than most legumes with the aril providing the bulk of fatty acids present. These fatty acids are largely unsaturated. The energy content is high in all species tested, averaging 1480 ±270 kJ per 100g. The seeds are low glycaemic index foods - the starch is digested and absorbed very slowly, producing a small, but sustained rise in blood glucose and so delaying the onset of exhaustion in prolonged exercise[
1295
Title
Acacia in Australia: Ethnobotany and Potential Food Crop
Publication
Janick (ed.), Progress in new crops pp 228-236, (1996) ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
Author
Lister P.R.; Holford P.; Haigh T.; Morrison D.A.
Website
https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1996/v3-toc.html
Publisher
ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
Year
1996
ISBN
0-9615027-3-8
Description
 
].

The ground seed can be used to produce a high quality, caffeine-free coffee-like beverage[
1295
Title
Acacia in Australia: Ethnobotany and Potential Food Crop
Publication
Janick (ed.), Progress in new crops pp 228-236, (1996) ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
Author
Lister P.R.; Holford P.; Haigh T.; Morrison D.A.
Website
https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1996/v3-toc.html
Publisher
ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
Year
1996
ISBN
0-9615027-3-8
Description
 
].

Medicinal

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[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
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[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Acacia colei is a colonising species, forming dense regrowth populations in disturbed sites, including roadsides and burnt-over areas[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
]. The plant can be used as a pioneer for restoring native woodland or establishing woodland gardens[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
It has been planted as a windbreak around fields and along roadsides. Its bushy habit to ground level and heavy fall of large slowly decomposing phyllodes enhance its value for sand stabilisation[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
]. It has given very satisfactory results when planted as the lower part of windbreaks with Eucalyptus camaldulensis[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].
The plant has a shallow, wide-spreading root system that competes heavily with nearby crops and can reduce their yields[
1294
Title
Potential of Australian Acacias in combating hunger in semi-arid lands
Publication
Conservation Science W. Aust. 4 (3):161-169 (2002)
Author
Rinaudo A.; Patel P.; Thomson L.A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. On sandy soils in semi-arid zones, the plant may be used in a wide alley cropping system (about 20 metres between rows) where its benefits as a low windbreak may outweigh its depletion of soil moisture in the crop root zone[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].

Other Uses

A red dye can be obtained from the lipid-rich arils by soaking them in water[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].

The heartwood is dark brown; it is clearly demarcated from the pale sapwood. The wood is hard, dense. It is suitable for the manufacture of small decorative articles, and can be used for light construction[
1294
Title
Potential of Australian Acacias in combating hunger in semi-arid lands
Publication
Conservation Science W. Aust. 4 (3):161-169 (2002)
Author
Rinaudo A.; Patel P.; Thomson L.A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
 
,
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].
The wood is an excellent source of firewood and charcoal. The calorific value of the wood is 4670 kcal/kg and that of the charcoal 7535 kcal/k[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].

Propagation

The seed of most, if not all, members of this genus has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.
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[
1294
Title
Potential of Australian Acacias in combating hunger in semi-arid lands
Publication
Conservation Science W. Aust. 4 (3):161-169 (2002)
Author
Rinaudo A.; Patel P.; Thomson L.A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-11-18. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Acacia+colei>

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