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Useful Temperate Plants

Acacia retinodes

Schltdl.

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 retinodes (Schltdl.) Pedley

Common Name: Swamp Wattle

Acacia retinodes
Cultivated tree in Jerusalem
Photograph by: Lazaregagnidze
Creative Commons License
Acacia retinodes Acacia retinodes Acacia retinodes Acacia retinodes Acacia retinodes

General Information

Acacia retinodes is an evergreen much-branched shrub or small tree with an open crown; it can grow from 5 - 10 metres tall[
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 sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food. This is a widely cultivated, fast-growing but short-lived species with unobtrusive flowers[
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 has become naturalized in some areas of Hawaii[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

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

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
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.
,
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 - Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania. Locally naturalized in S. Europe[
50
Title
Flora Europaea
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1964
ISBN
-
Description
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for Europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
].

Habitat

Occurs mainly in open forest in poorly drained soils inland from the coast[
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

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height6.00 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Acacia retinodes is native to the warm temperate areas of southern Australia, with disjunct populations in subtropical Queensland. It can be grown outdoors in areas with mild winters and will survive occasional moderate frosts.
Prefers a well-drained sandy loam and a very sunny position[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
260
Title
Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books, London.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-330-37376-5
Description
Excellent photos of over 1,100 species and cultivars with habits and cultivation details plus a few plant uses. Many species are too tender for outdoors in Britain though there are many that can be grown outside.
], but it also stands drought and wet well[
260
Title
Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books, London.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-330-37376-5
Description
Excellent photos of over 1,100 species and cultivars with habits and cultivation details plus a few plant uses. Many species are too tender for outdoors in Britain though there are many that can be grown outside.
]. Succeeds in any good garden soil, this species is said to be fairly lime tolerant[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
166
Title
The Milder Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Taylor. J.
Publisher
Dent
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A good book on plants that you didn't know could be grown outdoors in Britain.
,
182
Title
Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1992
ISBN
0-7195-5043-2
Description
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
,
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.
]. Succeeds in a hot dry position[
166
Title
The Milder Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Taylor. J.
Publisher
Dent
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A good book on plants that you didn't know could be grown outdoors in Britain.
]. Plants are fairly tolerant of salt in the soil and salt-laden winds[
260
Title
Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books, London.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-330-37376-5
Description
Excellent photos of over 1,100 species and cultivars with habits and cultivation details plus a few plant uses. Many species are too tender for outdoors in Britain though there are many that can be grown outside.
].
A very ornamental tree[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
]. It can flower sporadically throughout much of the year but with the main flush in spring and summer[
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 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[
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

Flowers - cooked[
144
Title
Wild Food in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
Fontana
Year
1976
ISBN
0-00-634436-4
Description
A very good pocket guide.
]. Rich in pollen, they are often used in fritters.

Seed[
144
Title
Wild Food in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
Fontana
Year
1976
ISBN
0-00-634436-4
Description
A very good pocket guide.
,
157
Title
Australian Native Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Wrigley. J. W. and Fagg. M.
Publisher
Collins. (Australia)
Year
1988
ISBN
0-7322-0021-0
Description
A lovely book, written in order to encourage Australian gardeners to grow their native plants. A little bit of information for the plant project.
]. A pleasing taste[
1293
Title
Domestication of wattles with edible seeds for the wheatbelt of Western Australia
Publication
Conservation Science W. Aust. 4 (3) : 170-180 (2002)
Author
McDonald M.W.; Maslin B.R.; Thomson L.A.J.
Publisher
 
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. The seedpods can be up to 18cm long, containing seeds up to 6mm long[
219
Title
Gardening on Walls
Publication
 
Author
Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V.
Publisher
Collins
Year
1983
ISBN
0-00-219220-0
Description
A nice little book about plants for growing against walls and a small section on plants that can grow in walls.
,
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 approx 26% protein, 26% available carbohydrate, 32% fibre and 9% fat[
278
Title
Wattleseed
Publication
 
Author
Lister. P.
Website
http://www.uws.edu.au/vip/listerp/wattle.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very interesting article on the internet about the Aboriginal uses of the Genus Acacia in Australia.
]. The fat content is higher than most legumes with the aril providing the bulk of fatty acids present[
278
Title
Wattleseed
Publication
 
Author
Lister. P.
Website
http://www.uws.edu.au/vip/listerp/wattle.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very interesting article on the internet about the Aboriginal uses of the Genus Acacia in Australia.
]. These fatty acids are largely unsaturated which is a distinct health advantage although it presents storage problems as such fats readily oxidise[
278
Title
Wattleseed
Publication
 
Author
Lister. P.
Website
http://www.uws.edu.au/vip/listerp/wattle.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very interesting article on the internet about the Aboriginal uses of the Genus Acacia in Australia.
]. The mean total carbohydrate content of 55.8 + 13.7% is lower than that of lentils, but higher than that of soybeans while the mean fibre content of 32.3 + 14.3% is higher than that of other legumes such as lentils with a level of 11.7%[
278
Title
Wattleseed
Publication
 
Author
Lister. P.
Website
http://www.uws.edu.au/vip/listerp/wattle.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very interesting article on the internet about the Aboriginal uses of the Genus Acacia in Australia.
]. The energy content is high in all species tested, averaging 1480+270 kJ per 100g[
278
Title
Wattleseed
Publication
 
Author
Lister. P.
Website
http://www.uws.edu.au/vip/listerp/wattle.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very interesting article on the internet about the Aboriginal uses of the Genus Acacia in Australia.
]. Wattle 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[
278
Title
Wattleseed
Publication
 
Author
Lister. P.
Website
http://www.uws.edu.au/vip/listerp/wattle.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very interesting article on the internet about the Aboriginal uses of the Genus Acacia in 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 extensive root system of this plant helps to prevent soil erosion[
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.
].

Other Uses

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers[
168
Title
Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Grae. I.
Publisher
MacMillan Publishing Co. New York.
Year
1974
ISBN
0-02-544950-8
Description
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
].
A green dye is obtained from the seed pods[
168
Title
Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Grae. I.
Publisher
MacMillan Publishing Co. New York.
Year
1974
ISBN
0-02-544950-8
Description
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
].

A good quality tannin is obtained from the plant[
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.
].

A good quality gum is obtained from the trunk and branches[
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.
]. Similar to gum arabic (Vachellia nilotica)[
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 wood is prettily grained, tough, and durable[
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.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a sunny position in a warm greenhouse[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
].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[
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
 
].
Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, mid summer in individual pots in a frame[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
]. Overwinter in a greenhouse for the first winter and plant out in their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Fair percentage[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-11-14. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Acacia+retinodes>

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