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Useful Tropical Plants

Acacia kempeana

F.Muell.

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

Racosperma kempeanum (F.Muell.) Pedley

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Acacia kempeana is a spreading shrub or a tree with a rounded crown; it can grow up to 5 metres tall. The single trunk usually divides into two at around 50cm from the ground[
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.
,
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
]. 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 an important food source for native Australians, who also used it for medicine and as a source of materials.

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, South Australia, Queensland

Habitat

Widely distributed in arid areas, where it occurs usually on stony hillsides or in coarse textured alluvial soils; often abundant in mulga woodlands on red sandy loam plains[
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.
]. Often found along seasonal watercourses[
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
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitTree
Height3.50 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Acacia kempeana is a wide-spread plant of arid regions in Australia, ranging from the warm temperate zone to just entering the tropics.
Requires a sunny position and a well-drained soil. Found in the wild in stony loam or clay-loam soils, often on granite[
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
].
The plant probably flowers whenever temperature and soil moisture are high[
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.
].
Although top-killed by fire, the plant has been recorded to resprout from the roots following fire or mechanical damage to top growth, especially when growing on shallow, granitic soils[
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
].
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
 
].
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[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].
Acacia kempeana belongs to a taxonomically complex small group of species, including Acacia adsurgens, Acacia atkinsiana, Acacia kempeana, Acacia rhodophloia and Acacia sibirica. At least some of these are believed to hybridize[
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
].

Edible Uses

Seed - cooked[
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.
,
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
 
]. 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 seedpods are 2 - 7cm long and, 8 - 16mm wide, with very dark brown to black, obloid to obloid-ellipsoid seeds 3.5 - 4mm 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.
,
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
].
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
 
].

An edible gum exudes from the trunk and branches[
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.
].

Medicinal

The phyllodes and inner bark from the roots were used traditionally for medicinal purposes[
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
]. No more information is given.

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.
].

Other Uses

The stem and roots were used traditionally to fashion fighting and fish spears[
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
].

Propagation

Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and benefits from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve 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.
Seeds can store for 14 years at room temperature with only 11% loss of viability[
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.
].

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