Botanical Name: Acacia holosericea
Species: A. holosericea
Common Names: Soapbush wattle, Soapbush, Strap wattle, Candelabra wattle, Silver wattle and Silky wattle
Habitat: Acacia holosericea is native to tropical and inland northern Australia.( Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland) Acacia-dominated scrubs and tall open shrubland, often developing dense, nearly monotypic populations along dry, stony or sandy drainage lines in disturbed sites such as road verges, gravel pits and burnt areas, growing in a variety of soil types. It occurs in Australia in red sands. It is a tropical plant.
Description: Acacia holosericea is a shrub has a spreading habit and typically grows to a height of 3 m (9.8 ft) and a width of 4 m (13 ft). The large grey-green phyllodes have an ovate-lanceolate shape with a length of 10 to 25 cm (3.9 to 9.8 in) and a width of 2 to 9 cm (0.79 to 3.54 in) and are covered with white silky hairs, with three to four prominent veins. The flowers are rod-like and bright yellow, 3–5 cm long.
. The thinly crustaceous seed pods that form after flowering are tightly irregularly coiled and have a width of 2.5 to 4 mm (0.098 to 0.157 in). The pods are 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 in) in length and twisted and curled.The flowers are pollinated by Insects. The shiny dark brown seeds are arranged longitudinally in the pods and have an obloid-ellipsoid shape and are 3 to 5 mm (0.12 to 0.20 in) in length with a bright yellow aril.
A. holosericea is available for cultivation by seed, although the seeds must be scarified prior to planting. It grows quickly and well in a sunny, reasonably well drained position in most soil types. It is suitable as a feature plant or as a hedge or screen plant. It has attractive foliage and fruit and can be grown in tropical areas.
Edible Portion: Seeds. Seed – cooked. It can be eaten in the same ways as other small legume seeds and is also ground into a powder then used as a flavouring in desserts or as a nutritious supplement to pastries and breads. Traditionally, the dry seed was ground to a coarse flour, mixed with water and either eaten as a paste or baked to form a ‘cake’. The seedpods are openly and strongly curved, 50 – 100mm long and 3.5 – 4mm wide, with very dark, brown to black, oblong seeds 4 – 4.5mm long. Acacia seeds are highly nutritious and contain around 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. The energy content is high in all species tested, 1480 ±270 kJ per 100g. The 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. Carbon Farming – Staple Crop: protein.
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 haemorrhoids.
Agroforestry Uses: Acacia colei is a colonising species, forming dense regrowth populations in disturbed sites, including roadsides and burnt-over areas. The plant can be used as a pioneer for restoring native woodland or establishing woodland gardens. It has been planted as a windbreak around fields and along roadsides. Its bushy habit to ground level and heavy fall of large slowly decomposing phyllodes enhance its value for sand stabilisation. It has given very satisfactory results when planted as the lower part of windbreaks with Eucalyptus camaldulensis. The plant has a shallow, wide-spreading root system that competes heavily with nearby crops and can reduce their yields. On sandy soils in semi-arid zones, the plant may be used in a wide alley cropping system (about 20 metres between rows) where its benefits as a low windbreak may outweigh its depletion of soil moisture in the crop root zone. Other Uses: A red dye can be obtained from the lipid-rich arils by soaking them in water. The heartwood is dark brown; it is clearly demarcated from the pale sapwood. The wood is hard, dense. It is suitable for the manufacture of small decorative articles, and can be used for light construction. The wood is an excellent source of firewood and charcoal. The calorific value of the wood is 4670 kcal/kg and that of the charcoal 7535 kcal/k. Carbon Farming – Agroforestry Services: nitrogen, windbreak. Other Systems: FMAFS.
Known Hazards: The seed of many Acacia species, including this one, is edible and highly nutritious, and can be eaten safely as a fairly major part of the diet. Not all species are edible, however, and some can contain moderate levels of toxins. Especially when harvesting from the wild, especial care should be taken to ensure correct identification of any plants harvested for food. 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.