Botanical Name: Acacia murrayana
Species: A. murrayana
:Acacia frumentacea Tate.
:Acacia leptopetala auct.
:Racosperma murrayanum (F.Muell. ex Benth.) Pedley
Common Names: Sandplain wattle, Murray’s wattle, Fire wattle, Colony wattle and powder bark wattle
Habitat: Acacia murrayana is native to Australia – mainly in the central arid belt from Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, New South Wales and Queensland
It grows in arid and desert areas in Western Australia. It grows in sandhill country. It requires a sunny position. It needs well drained soil. It can grow in hot places. It can survive fires. It can grow in arid places. A component of woodland and low woodland in the higher rainfall areas, more commonly in tall open-shrubland and hummock grassland in more arid regions, growing in sand on dunes, plains or along streams; at elevations up to 700 metres.
Acacia murrayana grows as a tall shrub or small tree typically to a height of 2 to 5 m (6 ft 7 in to 16 ft 5 in) but can grow as tall as 8 m (26 ft). It is able to form suckers and form dense colonies. It has glabrous branchlets that are often covered in a fine white powdery coating giving it frosted appearance. Like most Acacia species, it has phyllodes rather than true leaves. They are grey or pale green, with a length of 5 to 12 cm (2.0 to 4.7 in) and a width of 2 to 7 mm (0.079 to 0.276 in). The glabrous and thinly coriaceous phyllodes have a linear to narrowly elliptic shape but are occasionally oblanceolate and have a minute, callous and curved mucro. The phyllodes midrib is not prominent and it has obscure lateral nerves that are longitudinally anastomosing. In Western Australia it blooms between August and November but it can flower as late as January in other places and produce profuse flower displays a seed crops in favourable conditions. The flowers are bright yellow, and held in cylindrical clusters up to eight millimetres in diameter. The spherical flower-heads are composed of 25 to 50 densley packed golden to light golden coloured flowers. The pods are flat and papery with a length of 5 to 8 cm (2.0 to 3.1 in) and a width of up to 1 cm (0.39 in)
In Australia, its main flowering period is from August to November (this varies upon specific geographic) with pods maturing several months later (November-January). During favorable seasons, plants flower profusely and produce heavy pod crops.
The species most closely resembles A. pachyacra which has a similar range. The most obvious way to distinguish them is that A. pachyacra phyllodes (leaves) are much narrowe.
Acacia murrayana is a plant of arid and semi-arid regions in the warm temperate, subtropical and tropical zones of central Australia, where it is found at elevations up to 700 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 12 – 34°c, but can tolerate 5 – 42°c. When dormant, selected provenances of the plant can survive temperatures down to about -10°c, but young growth is more tender and can be severely damaged at -1°c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 200 – 400mm, but tolerates 100 – 500mm. Requires a sunny position and a well-drained soil. Succeeds in a range of soils from sands to clays and is very tolerant of low fertility. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 – 7.5, tolerating 4.5 – 8.5. Established plants are drought tolerant. A fast-growing plant when young, but relatively short-lived, usually senescing when around 15 – 25 years old. The plant recovers well following fire – both by producing a flush of germinating seedlings and also by resprouting from the base. The main flowering period is from August to November with pods maturing several months later, between November and January (Maslin et al. 1998). Plants flower profusely, commencing at an early age and produce heavy pod crops during favourable seasons. The seeds of most acacia species can be quickly and efficiently harvested at full maturity without the need for any specialised equipment. Small seed-bearing branches can be cut and beaten on sheets, or bushes can be beaten or shaken directly onto large sheets. 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. Acacia murrayana, together with Acacia gelasina, Acacia pachyacra, Acacia praelongata and Acacia subrigida comprise the Acacia murrayana group of closely related species. This group of species is not far removed from the Acacia victoriae and Acacia juncifolia groups. Some forms of this species may resemble Acacia dietrichiana. It can be pruned after flowering. It can be pruned after flowering. The edible insect larvae (Bardie grub) is pulled out of the bored holes using a hooked twig. The white gum normally exudes from sites of insect damage. Carbon Farming – Cultivation: historic wild staple, new crop. Management: standard, coppice.
Edible Portion: Seeds, Grub, Gum. 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. The pods are up to 90mm long, 8 – 12mm wide, with ovate, black seeds 4 – 5.5mm 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, averaging 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. The ground seed can be used to produce a high quality, caffeine-free coffee-like beverage. The plant possibly produces an edible gum. Carbon Farming – Staple Crop: protein.
Seeds and gum of the plant is a food source for Central Australian Aboriginae. Seeds can be ground to make a flour that can be used as a flavoring in desserts, a nutritious supplement in breads and pastries, or for a caffeine-free coffee alternative.
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: The tree can provide low shelter, it can be used as an ornamental and is a pollen source for bees. Other Uses: The wood is of small dimensions, but can be used for posts and small turnery. The wood is highly suitable for fuel, and for making charcoal. An edible grub occurs in the roots and branches. Carbon Farming: Agroforestry Services: nitrogen, windbreak. Other Systems: FMAFS.
The bark of all Acacia species are high in tannins, making them useful for dyeing.
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.