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Useful Tropical Plants

Acacia heterophylla

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 disagreement in the way this should be done. Some authorities have wanted to transfer this species to the genus Racosperma, but the latest decision (in 2011 and still not fully accepted) is that it remains in Acacia[
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 xiphoclada Baker

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.
].
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

None known

Botanical References


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

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

Cultivation Details

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

None known

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.
].

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