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[
Acacia dentifera intermedia S.Moore
Acacia graffiana F.Muell.
Acacia subcaerulea subsessilis E.Pritz.
Acacia hemiteles is a dense, spreading, multi-stemmed shrub growing 50 - 200cm tall and 100 - 400cm wide[
, ]. 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[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and has been suggested as a potential commercial seed crop for areas such as Western Australia[
]. It is used as a pioneer and revegetator on degraded lands.
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[
]. Especially when harvesting from the wild, especial care should be taken to ensure correct identification of any plants harvested for food[
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.
Australia - southwestern Western Australia
Often common where it occurs, growing in sand, loam or clay soils, in woodland or shrubland, sometimes on laterite or granite rocks[
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Acacia hemiteles is native to the Mediterranean and semi-arid climate of southwestern Australia. It is a somewhat frost-tolerant species, surviving several frosts each year in its native environment[
Requires a sunny position. Succeeds in a wide range of soils, from sands to clays and from moderately alkaline to moderately acid, so long as they are well-drained[
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant.
The pods are usually produced in large quantities and are held terminally, thus accessible for collection. They are easily harvested in large numbers either by hand or (more efficiently) by manually shaking or gently beating the plants and collecting them on a ground sheet. The medium-sized to large seeds (30 000-40 000 viable seeds per kg) are easily removed from the pod[
Plants of this species flower prolifically from an early age; the heads are bright golden and lightly perfumed. For these reasons it could have horticultural potential or be useful as amenity planting in semi-arid areas[
This species together with four close relatives; Acacia anthochaera, Acacia camptoclada, Acacia dorsenna and Acacia prainii, comprise the informal "Acacia prainii group"[
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[
Seed - cooked[
]. 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[
]. The seedpods are up to 8cm long and 5 - 8mm wide, with dark brown to black, oblong to elliptic or ovate seeds 3 - 5mm long[
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[
The ground seed can be used to produce a high quality, caffeine-free coffee-like beverage[
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[
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[
Acacia hemiteles is a disturbance opportunist and is an early coloniser after fire[
]. It is a hardy species suited to revegetation of clay soils. Sometimes it is the only species surviving along highly degraded road verges and it has occasionally been observed to regenerate naturally in gravel pits. It has some potential for providing shade and shelter and as a wildlife refuge, however, maximum benefit for these purposes would be derived if individuals were planted close together. Acacia hemiteles is recommended as being suitable for revegetation on a variety of soil types in the Midlands and northern wheatbelt regions of Western Australia[
The plant has been been widely used in the rehabilitation of goldfields in Western Australia, where it has demonstrated variable performance; however, once established it plays an important role in soil stabilization[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a sunny position in a warm greenhouse[
].The dried 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. Sow the seed in Spring in a greenhouse. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in a sunny position in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and consider giving them some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors.
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[