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
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)
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).