Botanical Name: Acacia retinodes
Species: A. retinodes
Common Names: Swamp Wattle, Water wattle, Retinodes water wattle, wirilda, Ever-blooming wattle and silver wattle
Habitat: is native to Australia – Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania. Locally naturalized in S. Europe. It is commonly situated on low ranges and hills as a part of Eucalyptus woodland communities.
Acacia retinodes is an evergreen Tree growing to a height of 6 to 10 m (20 to 33 ft) and is able to form suckers. It has furrowed bark with a rough texture that is dark brown to black in colour. It has glabrous branchlets that are sometimes pendulous or angular or flattened at extremities. Like most species of Acacia it has phyllodes rather than true leaves. The green to grey-green, glabrous and variable phyllodes are quite crowded on stems and have a narrowly oblanceolate to oblanceolate to linear shape. The phyllodes are 5 to 16 cm (2.0 to 6.3 in) in length and 3 to 16 mm (0.12 to 0.63 in) wide with one main nerve per face. It mostly blooms in summer between December and February.
Prefers a well-drained sandy loam and a very sunny position, but it also stands drought and wet well. Succeeds in any good garden soil, this species is said to be fairly lime tolerant. Succeeds in a hot dry position. Plants are fairly tolerant of salt in the soil and salt-laden winds. This species is said to be hardy from mid-Sussex southwards and westwards. However, trees are not very hardy outdoors in most parts of Britain and even in the mildest areas of the country they are likely to be killed in excessively harsh winters. A very ornamental tree. 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.
Flowers – cooked. Rich in pollen, they are often used in fritters. Seed. No more details are given. The seedpods can be up to 18cm long. Acacia seeds are highly nutritious and contain approx 26% protein, 26% available carbohydrate, 32% fibre and 9% fat. The fat content is higher than most legumes with the aril providing the bulk of fatty acids present. These fatty acids are largely unsaturated which is a distinct health advantage although it presents storage problems as such fats readily oxidise. 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%. The energy content is high in all species tested, averaging 1480+270 kJ per 100g. 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.
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.
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 haemorrhoid. Indigenous Australians ate the gum, after softening it in water, to relieve chest pains.
It is used for environmental management and for ornamental purposes. It produces good quantities of gum and its bark is good for tanning. A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A green dye is obtained from the seed pods. The extensive root system of this plant helps to prevent soil erosion.
Known Hazards: 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.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.