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Katanning, WA

flower spikes

Natural populations

Acacia acuminata comprises two subspecies [1,2]:

Subsp. acuminata is usually shrub or small tree 3–5 m tall, but on favourable sites it may be a tree up to 10 m tall and grows on a range of gently undulating terrain on soils that range from clays to red sand and granitic gravels. Subsp. burkittii tends to be finely branched shrub, 2-4 m tall, with branching near to ground level and grows on plains or sand dunes and soils are calcareous sandy loams or sands [2,3,4].

Flowering and seeds

Flowering in this species occurs mainly during late winter to spring and mature pods are present during summer [2,3,4,5]. There are about 35 viable seeds per gram [5]. Nicking or boiling the seeds in water for a minute at 100°C is required to induce germination. The seeds start to germinate in about 5 days if grown at 15-20°C [5].

Cultivation and uses

Acacia acuminata is a moderately long-lived but relatively slow growing small tree [3]. It is tolerant of drought and frosts and is moderately salt tolerant [6]. Subsp. acuminata grows on seasonally dry duplex soils, while subsp. burkittii grows mainly on alkaline loams. Coppicing ability is absent or very low and it may be killed by fire [3]. The wood has a distinct scent of rasberry jam and is very durable in the ground and favoured for round fencing material; it has an attractive grain and is used for craftwood [2]. Subsp. acuminata comprises a number of informal variants and is the main host being used in Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum ) plantations [7].

Key descriptors for subsp. acuminata:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 225-500 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: winter
Mean annual temperature: 15-21 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 32-34 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 4-7 °C
Frosts: up to 20 per year
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C)
Altitude: 0-400 metres
Tolerance of climate extremes
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant or known to be tolerant of protracted droughts
Fire: killed by damaging fire does not regenerate foliage or regenerates foliage after damaging fire
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, duplex texture contrast soils, light to medium clay (35-50% clay) or loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam
Soil pH reaction: acidic (less than 6.5) or neutral (6.5-7.5)
Soil depth: moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage: well-drained
Salinity: slightly to moderately saline or non-saline
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in pH: acidity
Extremes in texture: clayey or sand
Salinity: moderate (-8 dS m-1), nil - sensitive to saline soils or slight (2-4 dS m-1)
Soil waterlogging tolerance nil: - sensitive to waterlogged soil
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen shrub or small tree less than 5 m tall, or tree 5-10 m tall or usually produces a clear trunk
Longevity: moderate to long lived (>15 years)
Growth rate: slow
Coppicing ability: nil or negligible
Erosion control potential: excellent for clayey sites or excellent for sandy sites
Root system: moderate to deep, shallow and spreading, fixes nitrogen via root symbiot
Wood density: mod. to high (greater than 600 kg/cubic metre)
Carbon sequestration potential: moderate
Uses
Potential farm use: good for fence posts or shelterbelt or shade for stock
Specialty products: pollen has value in apiculture, gums, resins or seeds are edible (used traditionally by Aborigines)
Traditional Aboriginal uses: gum or resin (eaten or for adhesives), implements/artefacts, seeds/fruits eaten, weapons
Urban use: good as an ornamental or amenity plant or suitable as a screen or hedge
Wood products: solid wood products, craftwood (for turnery etc.), high quality fuelwood, industrial charcoal, posts (including fencing), speciality timber for quality furniture
Potentially undesirable attributes
Fire sensitivity: variable - some plants coppice back or killed by severe fires (seeder)
Growth habit: shallow roots may outcompete adjacent plants
Foliage: low to moderate susceptibility to browsing
Weediness: high potential based on its biology

Key descriptors for subsp. burkittii:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 130-450 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: uniform
Mean annual temperature: 15-24 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 33-38 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 3-7 °C
Frosts: up to 20 per year
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -6°C)
Altitude: 100-520 metres
Tolerance of climate extremes
Drought: known to be tolerant of protracted droughts
Fire: killed by damaging fire does not regenerate foliage
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Soil factors
Texture: loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam
Soil pH reaction: neutral (6.5-7.5) or alkaline (greater than 7.5)
Soil depth: moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage: well-drained
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in pH: alkalinity
Extremes in texture: sand
Salinity: moderate (-8 dS m-1)
Soil waterlogging tolerance: nil - sensitive to waterlogged soils
Salinity: slightly to moderately saline
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen shrub or small tree less than 5 m tall, with multiple stems from or near ground level
Longevity: moderate to long lived (>15 years)
Growth rate: slow
Coppicing ability: nil or negligible
Erosion control potential: excellent for sandy sites
Root system: moderate to deep, shallow and spreading, fixes nitrogen via root symbiot
Wood density: mod. to high (greater than 600 kg/cubic metre)
Carbon sequestration potential: low-moderate
Uses
Potential farm use: good for fence posts
Specialty products: pollen has value in apiculture, gums, resins or seeds are edible (used traditionally by Aborigines)
Traditional Aboriginal uses: gum or resin (eaten or for adhesives), implements/artefacts, seeds/fruits eaten or weapons
Urban use: suitable as a screen or hedge
Wood products: craftwood (for turnery etc.), high quality fuelwood, posts (including fencing)Potentially undesirable attributes
Fire sensitivity: killed by severe fires (seeder)
Growth habit: shallow roots may outcompete adjacent plants
Weediness: high potential based on its biology

References

[1] Kodela PG, Tindale MD (1998) The reduction of Acacia burkittii to Acacia acuminata subsp. burkittii (Acacia sect Juliflorae: Fabaceae, Mimosoideae). Telopea 7: 415-417.

[2] Boland DJ, Brooker MIH, Chippendale GM, Hall N, Hyland BPM, Johnson RD, Kleinig DA, McDonald MW, Turner JD (2006) Forest Trees of Australia. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

[3] Maslin BR, McDonald MW (2004) AcaciaSearch-evaluation of Acacia as a woody crop option for southern Australia. Rural Industries Research Development Corporation Publication No. 03/017, Canberra.

[4] Cunningham GM, Mulham WE, Milthorpe PL, Leigh JH (1992) Plants of Western New South Wales, Inkata Press, Port Melbourne, Victoria.

[5] Gunn BV (2001) Australian Tree Seed Centre Operations Manual. Internal Publication, CSIRO Australian Tree Seed Centre, ACT. [Online at http://www.ensisjv.com/Portals/0/atsc-opmanualcomplete.pdf  Accessed March 2008]

[6] Marcar NE, Crawford DF (2004) Trees for Saline Landscapes. RIRDC Publication Number 03/108, Canberra.

[7] Maslin BR, Byrne M, Coates D, Broadhurst L, Coleman H, Macdonald B (1999, online 2004) The Acacia acuminata (Jam) group: an analysis of variation to aid Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum ) plantation research. Report to the Sandalwood Business Unit. Online at: http://www.worldwidewattle.com/infogallery/projects/acuminata.php

Internet links

Flora of Australia online: http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/online-resources/flora/redirect.jsp

PlantNET National Herbarium of New South Wales: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Acacia~acuminata

World Wide Wattle: http://www.worldwidewattle.com/speciesgallery/acuminata.php?id=3200; http://www.worldwidewattle.com/infogallery/utilisation/acaciasearch/pdf/acuminata.pdf; and http://www.worldwidewattle.com/infogallery/projects/acuminata.php

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