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[
Acacia eriopoda is a slender, erect shub or a small tree with an open to somewhat dense canopy; it can grow from 1.5 - 6 metres tall[
]. The plant can either have a single trunk, or can divide at or near ground level into 2 - 4 ascending to erect trunks[
]. 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 plant has potential for use as the source of an edible gum and as a fuel crop in arid areas.
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 Western Australia
Usually found in red sand, also in stony sand or sandy loams, in savannah grasslands associated with Triodia , also along creeks; at elevations up to 1,300 metres[
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Acacia eriopoda is a plant of the arid to semi-arid, subtropical to tropical region of northwestern Australia, where it can be found at elevations up to 600 metres. The hot summers can see temperatures exceed 40°c, rarely falling lower than 7°c in the cool season, with very occasional, very light frosts at higher elevations. Rainfall is generally within the range 230 - 755mm, mainly falling in the summer.
Requires a sunny position in a well-drained soil. The plant is found mainly on freely draining infertile sands and loams, mostly neutral to slightly alkaline with a recorded pH range of 5.5 - 8.5.
The plant has a strong coppicing ability and also produces suckers.
Putative hybrids occur in the wild with Acacia tumida and Acacia trachycarpa[
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.
A gum is obtained from the trunk and branches. It is rich in protein (42%) and has an unusually high arabinose content of potential value in the food industry[
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 plant's multi-stemmed bushy habit makes it suitable to provide low shelter and for sand stabilisation.
The stems were used traditionally to make spears[
The wood from larger specimens may provide small posts or be turned into small decorative items.
The dense wood (900 kg/m3) should make an excellent fuel, and may be suitable for conversion to charcoal.
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[
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