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Useful Tropical Plants

Acacia cowleana

Tate

Fabaceae


This species is closely related to, and has often been confused in the past with Acacia elachantha[
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.
]. Most reports for Acacia cowleana prior to 2000 are more likely to refer to Acacia elachantha, whilst reports regarding Acacia oligophleba refer to Acacia cowleana[
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.
].
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 oligophleba Pedley

Racosperma cowleanum (Tata) Pedley

Racosperma oligophlebum (Pedley) Pedley

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Acacia cowleana is a shrub 2 - 3 metres tall with a few main stems growing from near the base, or a tree with a dense canopy; it can grow up to 8 metres tall[
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.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. 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. It has shown potential to become a cultivated food crop for semi-arid areas.
The tree is a heavy seed producer and has the potential of becoming a weed on certain sites[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

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 - northern Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, northern New South Wales

Habitat

Grows mainly along the banks of seasonal creeks[
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 StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Acacia cowleana is a plant of the arid to semi-arid zone of subtropical and tropical Australia, where it is found at elevations up to 650 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 24 - 35°c, but can tolerate 12 - 45°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -2°c, but young growth is more tender can be severely damaged at 0°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 250 - 400mm, but tolerates 200 - 500mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Requires a sunny position. Prefers a well-drained soil, though plants can tolerate seasonal inundation of the soil[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Grows best in light to medium-textured soils, and is tolerant of low fertility[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 4.5 - 8[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Acacia cowleana is not widely grown but should be a reliable shrub for temperate to arid climates in reasonably well drained soils. It has been successfully cultivated in California[
397
Title
Australian Native Plants Society
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://anpsa.org.au/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of fact sheets on Australian plants. Good photographs, brief description and information on uses, habitat, range, cultivation etc.
].
A fast-growing but fairly short-lived species with a life span of 5 - 12 years[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The seeds of most acacia species can be quickly and efficiently harvested at full maturity without the need for any specialised equipment. 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
 
].
Closely related to and previously confused with the tetraploid species Acacia elachantha[
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.
]. This species has been rarely cultivated compared to its close relative Acacia elachantha . The information given under Acacia cowleana in J.C.Doran & J.W.Turnbull (eds), Austral. Trees & Shrubs: species for land rehabilitation and Australian Trees & Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation & Farm Planting in the Tropics 134–135 (1997) and P.Latz, Bushfires & Bushtucker 94 (1995) is mainly attributable to A. elachantha[
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.
].
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[
397
Title
Australian Native Plants Society
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://anpsa.org.au/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of fact sheets on Australian plants. Good photographs, brief description and information on uses, habitat, range, cultivation etc.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. 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
 
]. The pods are up to 75mm long and 3.5 - 5mm wide, with dark brown to black, more or less oblong seed around 3.5 - 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.
,
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.
].
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 cowleana is a fast growing, short-lived species often used in seed-mixes for mine site rehabilitation. It has the ability to regenerate from basal coppice, however, it more commonly regenerates from seed (especially following disturbance)[
1298
Title
Wattles of the Pilbara
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://worldwidewattle.com/speciesgallery/descriptions/pilbara/html/default.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website with factsheets for the various Acacia species that grow in the Pilbara region of northwestern Western Australia
].

Other Uses

The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Propagation

Seed - requires pre-treatment to break down the hard coat[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Pouring a small amount of boiling water over the seeds (which cools down quickly and so does not cook the seed), and then leaving to soak for 12 hours is usually effective, as is making a small incision in the coat to allow water to penetrate. Germination levels of 40 - 80% take place in 6 - 15 days[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Treated seeds are sown in germination beds, and seedlings are transplanted into polythene bags when they reach the 2-leaf-pair stage. Seeds can also be sown straight into polythene bags. Young seedlings should initially be kept at 50% sunlight, but this can be increased to 70% once they have been established. In general, 3 - 4 months are needed to raise seedlings to a plantable size, 25 cm in height[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Seeds stored in airtight containers at room temperature retain their viability for several years[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Cuttings may succeed but the success rate may be well below 100%[
397
Title
Australian Native Plants Society
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://anpsa.org.au/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of fact sheets on Australian plants. Good photographs, brief description and information on uses, habitat, range, cultivation etc.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-11-18. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Acacia+cowleana>

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