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What acacia for dry subtropical / winter rainfall?

 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I am looking around acacia species that give edible pods and forage...

Acacia victoriae seems to be for summer rainfall.
Then some others need more water or thrive into more temperate zones...
I have been looking at this on Australian websites, and still cannot decide!

So, does anyone living in a dry warm place like California (same mediterranean climate as mine) already have some acacia and can tell me which one they have?

Thanks!
 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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Acacia dealbata and A. decurrens both grow and can become invasive in some parts of northern and central CA. Probably others as well in southern CA where there is less cold and frost. But as far as I know they provide no food except for goats, bees, and wood stoves....
 
Ben Plummer
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Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b
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Not speaking from experience but the US Foresty Service only has Acacia greggii listed as being in California. Here's their data on it's use as forage.
 
John Elliott
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Xisca, you need to go visit the Desert Legume Project. They have quite an extensive seed bank of just what you are looking for, and they will send you samples (a couple dozen seeds) to try out. Although they are affiliated with the University of Arizona in Tucson, they collect from desert areas worldwide. They are a non-profit, so your order will come with an envelope so you can make a small donation.

In addition to acacias, you should consider palo verdes (Parkinsonia spp.) as well. They are considered a noxious weed in Australia, where they have eradication programs, but they are endangered in the Horn of Africa (goats and camels really seem to like them).
 
James Colbert
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I am in Mediterranean California and I am looking at Acacia Mearnsii and Greggii.
 
Chris McLeod
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Location: Cherokee, Victoria, Australia
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Hi. I'm in the SE corner of down under at 37 degrees south and it is definitely Mediterranean here with wet winters and dry hot summers. My favourite acacia is acacia melanoxylon (blackwood) which is very long lived, produces tonnes of mulch. Next to tagaste (tree lucerne) it is the main support tree here in the food forest and can happily form the over-story canopy and being a broad leaf tree it provides lots of summer shade. It also produces stunning furniture grade timber and I know in northern Tasmania it is so prolific they use it for firewood as it burns very hot once seasoned. Here it grows at the rate of about 1m (3 foot) per year. I wouldn't touch acacia dealbata (silver wattle) as it is quite short lived and they encourage forest fires here (which spread their natural range). I have to cut it out wherever it turns up (usually dead). Acacia mearnsii (black wattle) is a good acacia which grows around here too and looks similar to the silver wattle but is superior in most other respects and doesn't die off as quickly leaving a giant candle which potentially feeds fire into the forest canopy. Chris
 
Fred Morgan
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Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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We grow Acacia Mangium in the tropics - not sure if it would work there. I swear it would grow on concrete.
 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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@ Chris: I've considered A. melanoxlon too, but other things I've read (including Mollison's autobiography) leads me to believe it's primarily a lowland/riparian tree and wants more moisture than others. Do you find them able to get through the dry summers on uplands? Of course some literature says the same about Casuarina and I see them growing around wherever....not necessarily in moist niches. My A. dealbata and A. mearnsii (decurrens) are far away from the buildings, as nurse trees for my useful trees, as potential forage for goats and sheep, and as coppice for firewood, so I'm not too worried about the fire issue. I have Albizia julibrissin and tagasaste started for the same purpose.... A. mangium is a cool tree, but frost tender I'm sure....
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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My sister has a few Parkinsonia trees, I think Parkinsonia Florida (aka Blue Palo Verde). Pretty trees. I've tasted the flowers raw - a bit on the bitter-spicy side, but edible and could be used as an accent in dishes. The seeds are supposed to be edible as well, but haven't tried yet. These are not heavy mulch or forage trees.

I would like to get my hands on some mesquite seeds, the pods are fairly high on the edibility scale.
 
Chris McLeod
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Location: Cherokee, Victoria, Australia
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Hi Alder. A melanoxylon grows from the bottom of the continent right up into the north so it is adaptable. In really moist environments (it'll even grow in swamps) and mountain environments, it forms the over-story. It didn't rain here for 5 months last summer and the farm had successive heat waves and I never watered the acacias and they happily just kept growing and didn't show signs of stress. The other acacias are good, but they don't shade the soil like melanoxylon. Shade became important here during those conditions. Most Australian rainforest trees are quite drought adapted as the continent has always had a boom and bust cycle and this has weeded out the weaker species over many milennia.
 
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