Acacia auriculiformis | ‘Ear-pod Wattle’, ‘Northern Black Wattle’, ‘Papuan Wattle’, ‘Tan Wattle’ | Seeds
Acacia auriculiformis is a covetable perennial tree species from the Fabaceae family which is most commonly known in English as the ‘Northern Black Wattle’ or ‘Ear-pod Wattle’.
Fast-growing in habit, the ‘Northern Black Wattle’ is a gnarled and crooked tree native to Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (although it’s now naturalised to many other countries too), at eighty to four hundred metres elevation. Reaching up to thirty metres tall in the wild, Acacia auriculiformis is a shallow-rooted yet densely-foliated species, forming leathery, grey-green phyllodes roughly ten to fifteen centimetre-long and one to three-centimetre wide.
Auriculiformis’ sweet-smelling, golden-creamy-coloured flowers grow in pairs and are roughly eight centimetres long. These attractive flowers distinctively-shaped seedpods, which are around one and a half by six centimetres in size. The seedpods of auriculiformis are initially flat and straight, twisting into irregular spirals as they mature and so giving the species its epithet (from the Latin ‘auricula’, meaning ‘the external ear of animals’, and ‘forma’, ‘a form, figure or shape’).
Dispersed by birds and insects, auriculiformis is considered invasive in some localities, being able to grow in a wide variety of habitats, including coastal and riverine areas, disturbed areas, drainage systems, dune, floodplains and levees, forest and rainforest, grasslands, orchards, pinelands, plantations, railway banks, roadsides, savannah and scrubland. The species’ dominance is further enhanced by its drought-tolerance and adaptation to fire, subsequent to which it can quickly proliferate. It can also tolerate light frosts and, although preferring clay soils, it also handles everything from calcareous sands to seasonally waterlogged soils to sandy loams – even those which are nutritionally poor or highly alkaline (pH 4.3 to pH 9).
Popular for its practical and ornamental qualities, auriculiformis is also known by many other names, including: ‘Acacia Auriculé’, ‘Akaashmoni’, ‘Akasia Kuning’, ‘Auri’, ‘Australian Babul’, ‘Australian Wattle’, ‘Black Wattle’, ‘Coast Wattle’, ‘Da Ye Xiang Si’, ‘Darwin Black Wattle’, ‘Earleaf Acacia’, ‘Ear-pod Black Wattle’, ‘Japanese Acacia’, ‘Kasia’, ‘Kaththi Karuvel’, ‘Ki Hia’, ‘Kondamanu’, ‘Krathin-Narong’, ‘Maha Babul’, ‘Minnumaanu’, ‘Ngarai’, ‘Papuan Wattle’, ‘Seema Babul’, ‘ Smach’té:Hs’, ‘Sonajhuri’, ‘Tan Wattle’, ‘Tuhkehn Pwelmwahu’ and ‘Unar’.
Auriculiformis has found value in multiple uses across the globe, notably including as dune stabiliser, erosion control, food (for humans, cattle, honeybees and other insects), host or nurse trees, nitrogen-fixer, shade-shielding ornamental, timber, fuel (charcoal and wood) and soil mulch. It’s also popular for carving tool handles, tool handles and toys, improving soil fertility, intercropping, its fibre and gum, making paper and cardboard, revegetating distressed land and tanning and dye-making. The plant is also used in the folk medicine of the Australian Aborigines, as an analgesic and to treat rheumatism and sore eyes.
Occurring naturally in USDA Climate Zones 9, 10, 11 and 12, Acacia auriculiformis is easy to cultivate from seed (of which it handily produces generous amounts) or by cuttings. The germination rate often exceeds seventy percent and is quite rapid, provided suitable treatment is first followed. Moreover – as with many other Australian Acacia – its seeds store well for years at room temperature in airtight containers.
Sow seeds straight into polythene bags, with roughly fifty percent sunlight, increasing to seventy percent once well-established. Under ideal conditions, auriculiformis seedlings reach roughly thirty centimetres by four months, producing several bi-pinnate leaves, which are soon replaced by dark-green phyllodes. It can handle a temperature range of approximately 17°C to 34°C, does not grow well in shade and is not wind tolerant (due to its brittle branches).
Another great Wattle tree that adds serious character to any proper Acacia garden!
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced in 2018-2019