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All acacias with edible pods, with climate choice

Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Informations about acacias species are not so easy to gather, and more over when you want to grow the right one for your place : climate and soil choice, and other criteria such as summer or winter rainfall pattern, fire resistance, size...

Let's add some web resource such as Australian websites, like http://www.anbg.gov.au/acacia/index.html

All parts of various Acacia species have been or are used by people for one purpose or another.

The seeds from some specific Acacia species provide a valuable food source. Mostly the seeds are ground into a flour and cooked like damper although some are eaten raw or made into a porridge. The gum from some species is also edible.

Various extracts from the bark and the leaves or phyllodes have been and continue to be used by Australian Aborigines for a wide variety of medicinal purposes such as relieving toothache or colds or applying to wounds and burns. Green leafy branches of some species may be used to 'smoke' someone who is suffering from a general sickness.

The wood of various species has been used to make clubs, spears, boomerangs and shields. Some species, such as Acacia melanoxylon (Blackwood), are used to make fine furniture.

Tannin has been extracted from the bark of a number of species for use in tanning including Acacia dealbata (Silver Wattle), A. mearnsii (Black Wattle) and A. pycnantha (Golden Wattle).



Yet, if you can provide REAL information about what is already growing at YOUR place, that would be great!
Think about mentioning in which characteristic you grow yours.

Xisca Nicolas
Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
purity forest garden tiny house wofati bike solar
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I start with a theoretical review of what is supposed to grow with little rain and a winter pattern.
All with edible seeds

Florabank is at the same time such a great example of nice and useful tree presentations!!

Acacia pycnantha
Mean annual rainfall: 200-850 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 8-20 °C
Evergreen shrub less than 2 m tall or shrub or small tree less than 5 m tall, can be multi-stemmed from or near ground level. Also produces gum.
Longevity: short-lived less than 15 years.
Frosts per year: frost free or more or less frost free or up to 20
Fire sensitivity: killed by severe fires
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm)
Growth habit: shallow roots may out-compete adjacent plants

Acacia salicina
Mean annual rainfall: 125-650 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern summer, uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 15-26 °C
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C)
This species is usually a tree 5–12m tall, but may grow to 18 m tall at some sites.

Might suit all rainfall patterns:

Acacia aneura = mulga
A bushy, nitrogen-fixing shrub or small tree up to about 15 m tall.
The latitudinal range is 21-33° and it is found from near sea level to about 1000 m.
Mulga forms a major part of the dry-range diet of sheep in Australia but they need high quality feed to supplement it. The timber is heavy, hard and durable, it turns well and takes a high polish. It makes excellent firewood and is often used for fence posts.
This acacia occurs mainly in the arid zone but extends into semi-arid areas. The annual rainfall is 200-400 mm but in many places mulga grows in hollows or at the base of slopes where it receives additional run-on water. It is often found on flood plains but only rarely on hill slopes and ridges.
Some Aborigines ground its seeds to make flour and resin from the desert form of mulga was used as an adhesive. Its slow growth rate and limited ability to reshoot after fire, excessive browsing or cutting may limit its use.
Xisca Nicolas
Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
purity forest garden tiny house wofati bike solar
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For dry lands, but for those who have summer rainfall:

acacia stenophylla
Mean annual rainfall is 125-600 mm with high variability and a summer maximum in the north. Incident rainfall is often supplemented by groundwater or periodic flooding. Soils are mainly fine-textured alluvials, grey cracking clays and red sandy clay. They may have a high pH and may be saline. This acacia frequently forms pure stands along watercourses in semi-arid areas.
Its latitudinal range is 17-36°
The phyllodes are palatable to sheep but rarely eaten by cattle. Seeds and pods were roasted and used by Aboriginal people as a food source.

Acacia ampliceps
Mean annual rainfall is 250-700 mm with a summer maximum. The dry season is 5-9 months but this acacia usually occurs on sites receiving additional run-on water. The area is frost-free. It is found on sand plains, flood plains and along drainage lines. Soils are mainly alluvial, either sandy or clayey, and typically strongly alkaline. It is one of the most salt-tolerant acacias.
A useful species for fuel-wood, low windbreaks, sand dune and saline wasteland rehabilitation, and fodder. Aboriginal people use the seeds for food, generally ground to paste but sometimes chewed without preparation.

acacia holoserica
The annual rainfall range is 300-1100 mm with a summer maximum (December - March) and a dry season of 5-7 months. It grows on inland plains, hilly uplands and coastal lowlands, commonly along watercourses. The latitudinal range is 12-25° and the main altitudinal occurrence is from sea level to 400 m. The seeds can be ground into flour and used in cooking.

In its home land A. holosericea occurs under MAR rainfall belts of 300 mm and up to 600 and above, with a 3-4 month summer rainy season. It has been successfully established in many places in Sahel with a MAR above 500 mm.
roasted seeds are edible to humans, they are rich in CP, Fat, NFE and Energy.
roots are very sensitive to pathogen gall-forming nematodes and therefore A. holosericea should be avoided as a windbreak in irrigated farming, as it may become, like Prosopis juliflora, a liability to crops as a host for vegetable pest nematods.
Forage production is high in quantity but rather poor in quality, unlike most native acacias A. holosericea keeps its phyllodes during the dry season, it may thus play a role in dry season feeding of stock, albeit the CP content is low.

acacia colei
Mean annual rainfall is 230-725 mm with a strong summer maximum and a dry season typically lasting 8-9 months. It is most commonly found along seasonally dry watercourses and adjacent to sandy plains and stony ridges on a wide variety of soil types.
Cole's Wattle is a very useful species for fuelwood, charcoal, windbreaks, land rehabilitation and as a human food source. In recent years it has been widely planted, under the name Acacia holosericea in West Africa. The seeds are nutritious containing 21% protein, 10% fat and 57% carbohydrate, and in the past were a quite important food source for Aborigines in Central Australia.

Excelled in Nigerian trials; early and heavy seed bearer; not prone to seed shattering; dried leaves can be used as low grade animal fodder. Very drought resistant. Edible pods that are nutritious and have tasty seeds. Spreading shrub growth habit.

Acacia tumida
Has large seed which is easy to harvest and process; better balanced nutritionally than A. colei; needs slightly higher rainfall. Grows in arid and semi-arid zones. Good for firewood and low windbreaks. Seeds and pods are edible.

A. elachantha
Good growth rate; may produce more seed than A. colei, but ripening period is longer and seed shatters more easily; produces lots of biomass and makes strong poles. Pods are edible.
Xisca Nicolas
Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
purity forest garden tiny house wofati bike solar
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The seeds of tropical arid zone species, such as A. elachantha (Kalkardi),
A. thomsonii (Thomson's Wattle),
A. tumida (Pindan Wattle)
and particularly A. colei (Cole's Wattle), are showing promise as a new human food source in semi-arid regions.

Of the 47 species identified as having potential, A. victoriae (Gundabluey) (currently the most important wattle species in the Australian bushfood industry) and its close relative A. murrayana (Colony Wattle) appear to be the best prospects.
Posts: 165
Location: E Washington steppe
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After reading all of your good information, I happened to stumble upon this extensive Acacia website and wondered if you'd seen it yet:


Interesting factoid:

Many Acacias are psychoactive ( marked ^ at end of text description ) and contain the same chemical that makes people and animals dream.

Xisca Nicolas
Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
purity forest garden tiny house wofati bike solar
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I had come across this website before, but not for acacia!
Yes I know about some being psychoactive. I am not interested but I don't mind either because it is not in the edible parts.

A pity that no use is mentioned, I went to see his A. victoriae description to check out...

When you go through all this page, you understand why I am fed up with looking for informations! You have to read it all because nothing has been classified.
For people who know what they are talking about, it is so easy to make criteria lists leading to the right names, so you read only what you want.
(and I do not speak like an idealistic, as I have done the job for a website before, with criteria and links to what matches the criteria, and also because some websites provide such lists. It has its limits but it is still better than piling so much raw informations that too much information kills information. Time on Internet is not time in the garden)

If you get some cold in winter, don't you want a list that exclude the hundreds that come from frost free places?
If we gather information from websites and from what some people already grow at their place, we might share this job with others.
It seems it has not been done for acacias.

Also, it is interesting to see who has tried an acacia out of its natural range, and with what results...
Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind? - Fred Rogers. Tiny ad:
how do we get more backing of the brk?
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