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Useful Tropical Plants

Acacia sericophylla

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

Acacia coriacea angustior Maiden

Acacia coriacea sericophylla (F.Muell.) R.S.Cowan & Maslin

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Acacia sericophylla is a shrubby tree usually growing 3 - 6 metres tall but reaching 10 metres in Queensland. The tree produces one to a few main stems growing from ground level, these are covered with a thick, corky bark[
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 crop for the native Australians of central Australia. Its seeds are highly nutritious and the plant has been recommended as a new food crop for arid tropical regions[
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
 
]. The plant also has potential for use as an ornamental.

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

Habitat

Grows in red sand and sandy or pebbly loam, mostly in open shrubland over spinifex[
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 *  *
HabitTree
Height5.00 m
Growth RateMedium
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Acacia sericophylla is widespread across the central arid zone of subtropical and tropical Australia[
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.
].
Requires a sunny position. The plant is well-adapted to grow on infertile sandy soils that are not adapted to conventional food crops[
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
 
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
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
].
Trees have a slow to moderate rate of growth[
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
].
A fairly long-lived tree, able to produce seed crops for many decades[
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
 
].
Plants usually regenerate from the base following fire and can also produce suckers[
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
].
This species would be a useful ornamental for inland plantings in drier areas on account of its unusual growth form[
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.
].
Until recently this species was regarded as a subspecies of Acacia coriacea, but is now treated as a distinct species. Although these two species are sometimes difficult to separate from herbarium material, they have very distinctive field faces. Acacia coriacea is most reliably distinguished from Acacia sericophylla by its thinner, fibrous (not thick and corky) bark, but there are other characters such as growth form, pod curvature, peduncle length and habitat preference[
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[
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
 
,
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 fully formed but still green pods are collected and lightly roasted, usually on a burning spinifex tussock, producing a pleasant smoked flavour to the seed when eaten[
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 mature seed 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 15 - 25cm long, occasionally to 33cm, and 5 - 10mm wide, with glossy black,broadly elliptic seeds 4 - 8mm 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.
].
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
 
].

Fully mature seeds are soaked in water and then mashed by hand with water to form a kind of milk which is drunk[
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 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:

The plant has a deep root system and casts only a light shade. It has potential for interplanting with traditional crops such as millet, where it will also help to add nitrogen and organic matter to the soil[
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
 
].

Other Uses

The wood is traditionally favoured for making boomerangs and 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

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[
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
 
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2023-01-27. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Acacia+sericophylla>

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