Plants of
South Australia
Acacia melanoxylon
Display all 15 images
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
Enlarge Map
Copy Map
Copy Map
Display IBRA region text

Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 9

Prior names

Racosperma melanoxylon

Common names



Acacia from the Greek 'akakia' and derived from 'ake' or 'akis' meaning a sharp point or thorn and 'akazo' meaning to sharpen. Dioscorides, the Greek physician and botanist used the word in the 1st century AD for the Egyptian thorn tree, Acacia arabica. Melanoxylon  from the Greek 'melas' meaning black and 'xylon' meaning wood, referring to the species attractively coloured and close-grained heartwood.

Distribution and status

Found growing naturally in the Mount Lofty Ranges and the South-east in South Australia with small isolated occurrence near Wirrabara in the southern Flinders Ranges and introduced to the Eyre Peninsula, growing in the high rainfall areas in woodland or open forest in cool moist and fertile soils of valleys and flats. Also found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania and introduced to Western Australia. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect or spreading tree to 30 m high with deeply fissured, dark grey-black bark and usually a distinct strong trunk before branching and forming a quite dense dull green canopy. Leaves elliptical, lanceolate or oblanceolate, to 14 cm long and 3 cm wide, straight or curved with 3-5 prominent longitudinal veins and small glands on upper margin near base. Inflorescences in axillary racemes with 2-8 pale yellow globular flower-heads. Flowering between August and October. Fruits are narrowly oblong pod to 2 cm long and 1 cm wide, flattish and twisted with a thickened margins, slightly constricted between seeds. Seeds are black glossy and hard, elliptic to ovoid to 5 mm long and 3 mm wide with a pinkish-red aril encircling the seed. Seed embryo type is investing.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and January. Collect mature pods that are turning brown, with hard, dark seeds inside. Place the pods in a tray and leave to dry for 1-2 weeks or until the pods begin to split. Then rub the dried pods to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. Seed viability is usually high.This species has physical dormancy that needs to be overcome for the seed to germinate (e.g. nicking or softening the seed coat).