We hope you’re an admirer of the many wonderful Acacia species, because here’s the index to our extensive work-in-progress list of all the currently recognised members of the genus! We intend to flesh this out with much more detail over time, but believe it to be a useful resource as-is.
Hopefully this will prove to be a useful reference for the (extremely) dedicated collector of the Acacia species, researcher or other enthusiast – particularly due to the recent amendments to the genus noted in more detail below…
Acacia is a large genus of shrubs and trees (commonly known as ‘Wattles’ or ‘Acacias’) that are currently classified in the subfamily Mimosoideae of the family Fabaceae. Initially it comprised of a group of species native to Africa and Australia, before it later became apparent that the Australian lineage (of over nine hundred species) was not actually closely-related to the African lineage at all. Consequently, after much discussion (not to mention confusion!), in 2005 it was officially decided that the Australian Acacia species keep their original moniker, while the other lineages were renamed.
The genus was first described in Africa in 1829, by C.F.P. von Martius. Since then, many Acacia species have been identified and introduced around the globe, with approximately two million hectares of commercial Acacia plantations maintained as of the time of writing. Present in all terrestrial habitats, including alpine settings, coastal dunes, deserts, grasslands, rainforests and woodlands, individual Acacia species consequently vary considerably in habit, taking form from mat-like ‘sub-shrubs’ to much larger canopy trees.
Not surprisingly – considering the fact that Acacia is the largest genus of flowering plants in Australia – Aboriginal Australians have traditionally made use of them for both timber and food (Acacia seed stores well and contains up to twenty-five percent more protein than common cereals). As well as for food and timber, Australian and other peoples have also used various Acacia species for other purposes, including tanning and folk medicine (one example being that the ancient Egyptians made a hemorrhoid lotion from Acacia leaves).
We’re trying to keep this brief for now, but a special mention should perhaps go here to the famous ‘Acacia gum’, the name given to the hardened sap of the former Acacia species Senegalia senegal and Vachellia seyal (reclassified in 2005, as mentioned previously). A valuable resource indeed, the gum has many practical uses, including in the food production, photographic, lithographic, paint-making, ceramics and pyrotechnic industries.
In summary, whether you’re already a keen Acacia grower or entirely new to the genus, we hope you’ll find something here to inspire you to improve your garden. You could do worse than start by checking out our range of Australian Acacia species seed – ethically-collected and viable!