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Useful Temperate Plants

Acacia harpophylla

F.Muell. ex Benth.

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 harpophyllum (F.Muell. ex Benth.) Pedley

Common Name: Brigalow

Acacia harpophylla
Tree in native range
Photograph by: Fagg, M.
Image credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens
Acacia harpophylla Acacia harpophylla Acacia harpophylla Acacia harpophylla Acacia harpophylla

General Information

Acacia harpophylla is a tree usually growing 12 - 20 metres tall,, reaching up to 25 metres on the most favourable sites[
156
Title
Useful Wild Plants in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
William Collins Pty Ltd. Sidney
Year
1981
ISBN
0-00-216441-8
Description
A very readable book.
,
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 moderately straight bole can be up to 60cm in diameter and, when growing in dense stands, it can be unbranched for up to 15 metres[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. The plant produces suckers and can form thickets[
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 it produces leaves as a seedling, llike most members of the genus the mature plant does not have true leaves but has leaf-like flattened stems called phyllodes[
397
Title
Australian Native Plants Society
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://anpsa.org.au/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of fact sheets on Australian plants. Good photographs, brief description and information on uses, habitat, range, cultivation etc.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild, mainly for its timber, tannins and essential oil. It is grown as an ornamental in gardens[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Known Hazards

The plant is reported to cause 'bribalow itch' a form of dermatitis in humans[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
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 - New South Wales and Queensland.

Habitat

Forms extensive open-forest communities usually on fertile clay and loamy clay[
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.
]. It grows best on plains, only rarely being found on hills and ridges[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitTree
Height15.00 m
Growth RateSlow
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Acacia harpophylla is a plant of semi-arid to sub-humid areas in the warm temperate to tropical zones of eastern Australia, where it is found at elevations up to 330 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 28°c, but can tolerate 7 - 40°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Mature plants can be killed by temperatures of -8°c or lower, but new growth is more tender and can be severely damaged at -1°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 450 - 600mm, but tolerates 300 - 700mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It can withstand a dry season of 5 - 7 months[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Requires a sunny position. Found in the wild on fertile clay soils that can be either acid or alkaline and sometimes are somewhat saline[
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.
,
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
]. Prefers a well-drained soil, but can tolerate occasional inundation of the soil[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7.5, tolerating 4.5 - 8.5[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
A fairly slow-growing tree[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].
Seedlings develop a tap root initially and later form an extensive lateral root system concentrated in the upper 25cm of the soil[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].
An attractive ornamental tree, providing shade and shelter[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].
Seed is produced irregularly, and often at intervals of several years[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].
The plant sends up suckers from the roots, especially if the plant is damaged, and can form dense stands[
156
Title
Useful Wild Plants in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
William Collins Pty Ltd. Sidney
Year
1981
ISBN
0-00-216441-8
Description
A very readable book.
,
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].
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[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

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.
].

Other Uses

Produces an extremely viscose gum that is as useful as gum arabic (obtained mainly from Senegalia senegal[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

The essential oil in the flowers has been suggested as a source of perfumes[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].
The tree yields a scented wood, which may have potential for use in perfumery[
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.
].

Source of a reddish-brown dye that stains wool and cotton[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
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.
].

The bark yields a considerable amount of tanins[
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.
]. Bark harvested for its tannins should only be taken from mature stems, and only when the sap is rising at the beginning of the growing season - which is when the tannin content is highest and the bark is most easily removed from the wood[
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.
].

The dark brown wood is very hard, very heavy, strong, elastic and durable, with a strong scent of violets[
156
Title
Useful Wild Plants in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
William Collins Pty Ltd. Sidney
Year
1981
ISBN
0-00-216441-8
Description
A very readable book.
,
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.
]. It can be used for cabinet work, turnery, rail material, building poles etc[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It splits easily, making it useful for fencing[
156
Title
Useful Wild Plants in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
William Collins Pty Ltd. Sidney
Year
1981
ISBN
0-00-216441-8
Description
A very readable book.
]. It is used traditionally to make spears, boomerangs and clubs[
156
Title
Useful Wild Plants in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
William Collins Pty Ltd. Sidney
Year
1981
ISBN
0-00-216441-8
Description
A very readable book.
].
The wood can be used for fuel and to make low quality charcoal[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Propagation

Unlike most members of this genus, the seed of this species has a thin, permeable seedcoat not requiring any form of pretreatment before germination. Fresh seed gives a germination rate of 97%[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].
Seed viability is lost within 6 - 24 months unless the seeds are stored at subfreezing temperatures[
1300
Title
Australian Trees and Shrubs: Species for Land Rehabilitation and Farm Planting in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Doran J.C.; Turnbull J.W. (Editors)
Publisher
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Canbe
Year
1997
ISBN
1-86320-127-0
Description
A very informative book, rich in information about the uses, cultivation needs and very much more for over 160 species of Australian trees and shrubs.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-12-17. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Acacia+harpophylla>

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