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Useful Tropical Plants

Acacia heterophylla

(Lam.) Willd.

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 brevipes A.Cunn.

Acacia xiphoclada Baker

Mimosa heterophylla Lam.

Common Name:

Acacia heterophylla
Tree growing on Réunion Island
Photograph by: B.navez
Creative Commons License
Acacia heterophylla Acacia heterophylla Acacia heterophylla Acacia heterophylla Acacia heterophylla Acacia heterophylla Acacia heterophylla Acacia heterophylla

General Information

Acacia heterophylla is a shrub or small to medium-sized tree with a spreading crown; usually growing up to 20 metres tall but exceptionally to 25 metres. The bole is often short and crooked, and can be up to 150cm in diameter[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. 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 tree is harvested from the wild for its valuable timber. It is occasionally cultivated as a timber crop and is also planted as an ornamental along roads[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Known Hazards

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

299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.

Range

Africa - Madagascar, Réunion.

Habitat

Humid forests at elevations from 800 - 1,800 metres, occasionally to 2,500 metres[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitTree
Height15.00 m
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Acacia heterophylla is a plant of the moist tropics, growing in areas where the annual rainfall should be at least 1,500mm and divided evenly over the year[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The growth rate of seedlings is usually high, in good conditions it can reach about 1 metre per year for the first 5 years after germination[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It is estimated that trees need 100 years to reach a bole diameter of 70cm[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
In trials in Madagascar, the tree succeeded only at elevations of 900 metres with an annual rainfall of 1,700 mm[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. (Does this mean that the trees succeeded only above 900 metres or only below 900 metres?[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].) Ten year-old trees had a diameter at breast height of 18cm and were 18 metres tall, but they had a bad shape[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Rooting is superficial, which explains the often severe damage caused to the trees by cyclones[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Natural germination occurs after disturbance of the forest, such as after a fire. Regeneration can be abundant under such circumstances[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. In Réunion, clear felling of the natural forest has been practised in order to establish pure, even-aged stands of this species as a result of natural regeneration[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Regular weeding is necessary, twice a year for the first 3 years, to avoid smothering of the seedlings by weedy plants. Thinning is practised when the trees are 6 and 10 years old, to 1,250 stems/ha and 800 stems/ha, respectively. The eventual density to be reached after 50 years is 200 stems/ha[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The yield of timber per tree in natural forest is often comparatively small due to the poor shape and short length of the bole; wood defects such as knots are common. Proper silvicultural practices may improve bole shape and length, and thus timber yield[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Edible Uses

None known

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:

The tree is a natural pioneer species within its native range, rapidly establishing itself after disturbances such as fire or clear felling[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It would make a useful species for reforestation projects[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
],

Other Uses

The heartwood is pinkish yellow to orange-brown; it is distinctly demarcated from the paler sapwood. The wood is easy to work; nailing and gluing properties are good, and the wood takes varnish well. It takes an excellent polish[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. A valuable wood, it is used for construction, local furniture, joinery, flooring, arts and handicrafts, and for the production of shingles[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. At one time it was used for the construction of small boats[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Propagation

Seed - it 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. Germination takes place 1 - 3 weeks after sowing. Seedlings stay in the nursery for 6 - 8 months before being planted out[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Direct sowing in the field is also possible[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Seeds may remain viable for over 30 years[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-08-18. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Acacia+heterophylla>

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