Acacia

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Acacia
Acacia plicata.jpg
A. plicatum
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Clade: Mimosoideae
Tribe: Acacieae
Genus:Acacia
Martius (1829)
Type species
Acacia penninervis
DC.
Species

List of Acacia species

Acacia Distribution Map.svg
Range of the genus Acacia
Synonyms
  • Acacia subg. Phyllodineae DC. [1]
  • EscleronaRaf.
Acacia fasciculifera shoot, showing phyllodes on the pinnate leaves, formed by dilation of the petiole and proximal part of the rachis Acacia facsiculifera seedling.jpg
Acacia fasciculifera shoot, showing phyllodes on the pinnate leaves, formed by dilation of the petiole and proximal part of the rachis

Acacia, commonly known as the wattles or acacias, is a large genus of shrubs and trees in the subfamily Mimosoideae of the pea family Fabaceae. Initially it comprised a group of plant species native to Africa and Australia, with the first species A. nilotica described by Linnaeus. Controversy erupted in the early 2000s when it became evident that the genus as it stood was not monophyletic, and that several divergent lineages needed to be placed in separate genera. It turned out that one lineage comprising over 900 species mainly native to Australia was not closely related to the mainly African lineage that contained A. nilotica—the first and type species. This meant that the Australian lineage (by far the most prolific in number of species) would need to be renamed. Botanist Les Pedley named this group Racosperma, which was inconsistently adopted. Australian botanists proposed that this would be more disruptive than setting a different type species (A. penninervis) and allowing this large number of species to remain Acacia, resulting in the two African lineages being renamed Vachellia and Senegalia , and the two New World lineages renamed Acaciella and Mariosousa . [3] This was officially adopted, but many botanists from Africa and elsewhere disagreed that this was necessary.

A genus is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, as well as viruses, in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.

Mimosoideae subfamily of plants

The Mimosoideae are trees, herbs, lianas, and shrubs that mostly grow in tropical and subtropical climates. They comprise a clade, previously placed at the subfamily or family level in the flowering plant family Fabaceae (Leguminosae). In previous classifications, Mimosoideae refers to what was formerly considered the tribe Mimoseae. Characteristics include flowers in radial symmetry with petals that are valvate in bud, and have numerous showy, prominent stamens. Mimosoideae comprise about 40 genera and 2,500 species.

Fabaceae family of plants

The Fabaceae or Leguminosae, commonly known as the legume, pea, or bean family, are a large and economically important family of flowering plants. It includes trees, shrubs, and perennial or annual herbaceous plants, which are easily recognized by their fruit (legume) and their compound, stipulate leaves. Many legumes have characteristic flowers and fruits. The family is widely distributed, and is the third-largest land plant family in terms of number of species, behind only the Orchidaceae and Asteraceae, with about 751 genera and about 19,000 known species. The five largest of the genera are Astragalus, Acacia, Indigofera, Crotalaria, and Mimosa, which constitute about a quarter of all legume species. The ca. 19,000 known legume species amount to about 7% of flowering plant species. Fabaceae is the most common family found in tropical rainforests and in dry forests in the Americas and Africa.

Contents

A number of species have been introduced to various parts of the world, and two million hectares of commercial plantations have been established. [4] The heterogeneous group [5] varies considerably in habit, from mat-like subshrubs to canopy trees in forest. [6]

Subshrub short woody plant

A subshrub or dwarf shrub is a short woody plant. Prostrate shrub is a related term. "Subshrub" is often used interchangeably with "bush".

Taxonomy

The genus was first described from Africa by C. F. P. von Martius in 1829. Several hundred combinations in Acacia were published by Pedley in 2003. [1] The genus of 981 [7] species, Acacia s.l. , in the subfamily Mimosoideae of the pea family Fabaceae is monophyletic. All but 10 of its species are native to Australia, [7] where it constitutes the largest plant genus. [5]

<i>Acacia sensu lato</i>

Acacia s.l., known commonly as mimosa, acacia, thorntree or wattle, is a polyphyletic genus of shrubs and trees belonging to the subfamily Mimosoideae of the family Fabaceae. It was described by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1773 based on the African species Acacia nilotica. Many non-Australian species tend to be thorny, whereas the majority of Australian acacias are not. All species are pod-bearing, with sap and leaves often bearing large amounts of tannins and condensed tannins that historically found use as pharmaceuticals and preservatives.

Monophyly Property of a group of including all taxa descendant from a common ancestral species

In cladistics, a monophyletic group, or clade, is a group of organisms that consists of all the descendants of a common ancestor. Monophyletic groups are typically characterised by shared derived characteristics (synapomorphies), which distinguish organisms in the clade from other organisms. The arrangement of the members of a monophyletic group is called a monophyly.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Following a controversial decision to choose a new type for Acacia in 2005, the Australian component of Acacia s.l. now retains the name Acacia. [8] [9] At the 2011 International Botanical Congress held in Melbourne, the decision to use the name Acacia, rather than the proposed Racosperma for this genus, was upheld. [10] [11] Other Acacia s.l. taxa continue to be called Acacia by those who choose to consider the entire group as one genus. [11]

Type (biology) Specimen(s) to which a scientific name is formally attached

In biology, a type is a particular specimen of an organism to which the scientific name of that organism is formally attached. In other words, a type is an example that serves to anchor or centralize the defining features of that particular taxon. In older usage, a type was a taxon rather than a specimen.

International Botanical Congress (IBC) is an international meeting of botanists in all scientific fields, authorized by the International Association of Botanical and Mycological Societies (IABMS) and held every six years, with the location rotating between different continents. The current numbering system for the congresses starts from the year 1900; the XVIII IBC was held in Melbourne, Australia, 24–30 July 2011, and the XIX IBC was held in Shenzhen, China, 23–29 July 2017.

Melbourne City in Victoria, Australia

Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 9,992.5 km2 (3,858.1 sq mi), comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, and is also the common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. It has a population of approximately 5 million, and its inhabitants are referred to as "Melburnians".

Australian species of the genus Paraserianthes s.l. are deemed its closest relatives, particularly P. lophantha . [12] The nearest relatives of Acacia and Paraserianthes s.l. in turn include the Australian and South East Asian genera Archidendron , Archidendropsis , Pararchidendron and Wallaceodendron , all of the tribe Ingeae. [13]

<i>Paraserianthes</i> genus of plants

Paraserianthes is a genus of flowering plants in the legume family, Fabaceae. It belongs to the mimosoid clade of the subfamily Caesalpinioideae.

<i>Paraserianthes lophantha</i> species of plant

Paraserianthes lophantha, commonly called Albizia, Cape Leeuwin Wattle, Cape Wattle, Crested Wattle or plume albizia, is a fast-growing wattle with creamy-yellow, bottlebrush like flowers. It is a small tree that occurs naturally along the southwest coast of Western Australia, from Fremantle to King George Sound. It was first spread beyond southwest Australia by Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, who gave packets of P. lophantha seeds to early explorers under the assumption that if they planted the seeds at their campsites, the trees would indicate the routes they travelled.

<i>Archidendron</i> genus of plants

Archidendron is a genus of flowering plants in the pea family, Fabaceae.

Etymology

The origin of "wattle" may be an Old Teutonic word meaning "to weave". [14] From around 700 A.D. watul was used in Old English to refer to the interwoven branches and sticks which formed fences, walls and roofs. Since about 1810 it refers to the Australian legumes that provide these branches. [14]

Wattle (construction) lightweight construction material made by weaving thin branches or slats between upright stakes to form a woven lattice

Wattle is a lightweight construction material made by weaving thin branches or slats between upright stakes to form a woven lattice. It has commonly been used to make fences and hurdles for enclosing ground or handling livestock. The wattle may be made as loose panels, slotted between timber framing to make infill panels, or it may be made in place to form the whole of a fence or wall. The technique goes back to Neolithic times.

Proto-Germanic language The reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages

Proto-Germanic is the reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages.

Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest historical form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers probably in the mid-5th century, and the first Old English literary works date from the mid-7th century. After the Norman conquest of 1066, English was replaced, for a time, as the language of the upper classes by Anglo-Norman, a relative of French. This is regarded as marking the end of the Old English era, as during this period the English language was heavily influenced by Anglo-Norman, developing into a phase known now as Middle English.

Species

One species is native to Madagascar, one to Reunion island, 12 to Asia, and the remaining species (over 900) are native to Australasia and the Pacific Islands. [8] These species were all given combinations by Pedley when he erected the genus Racosperma, hence Acacia pulchella , for example, became Racosperma pulchellum . However these were not upheld with the retypification of Acacia.

Evolution

Acacias in Australia probably evolved their fire resistance about 20 million years ago when fossilised charcoal deposits show a large increase, indicating that fire was a factor even then.[ citation needed ] With no major mountain ranges or rivers to prevent their spread, the wattles began to spread all over the continent as it dried and fires became more common.[ citation needed ] They began to form dry, open forests with species of the genera Allocasuarina , Eucalyptus and Callitris (cypress-pines).

The southernmost species in the genus are Acacia dealbata (silver wattle), Acacia longifolia (coast wattle or Sydney golden wattle), Acacia mearnsii (black wattle), and Acacia melanoxylon (blackwood), reaching 43°30' S in Tasmania, Australia.[ citation needed ]

Fossil record

An Acacia-like 14 cm long fossil seed pod has been described from the Eocene of the Paris Basin. [15] Acacia like fossil pods under the name Leguminocarpon are known from late Oligocene deposits at different sites in Hungary. Seed pod fossils of †Acacia parschlugiana and †Acacia cyclosperma are known from Tertiary deposits in Switzerland,. [16] Acacia colchica has been described from the Miocene of West Georgia. Pliocene fossil pollen of an Acacia sp. has been described from West Georgia and Abkhazia. [17] Oldest records of fossil Acacia pollen in Australia are from the late Oligocene epoch, 25 million years ago. [18]

Distribution and habitat

They are present in all terrestrial habitats, including alpine settings, rainforests, woodlands, grasslands, coastal dunes and deserts. [6] In drier woodlands or forest they are an important component of the understory. Elsewhere they may be dominant, as in the Brigalow Belt, Myall woodlands and the eremaean Mulga woodlands. [6]

In Australia, Acacia forest is the second most common forest type after Eucalypt forest, covering 980,000 square kilometres (378,380 sq mi) or 8% of total forest area. Acacia is also the nation’s largest genus of flowering plants with almost 1,000 species found. [19]

Description

Several of its species bear vertically oriented phyllodes, which are green, broadened leaf petioles that function like leaf blades, [20] an adaptation to hot climates and droughts. [21] Some phyllodinous species have a colourful aril on the seed. [2] A few species have cladodes rather than leaves. [22]

Uses

Aboriginal Australians have traditionally harvested the seeds of some species, to be ground into flour and eaten as a paste or baked into a cake. The seeds contain as much as 25% more protein than common cereals, and they store well for long periods due to the hard seed coats. [21] In addition to utilizing the edible seed and gum, the people employed the timber for implements, weapons, fuel and musical instruments. [6] In ancient Egypt, an ointment made from the ground leaves of the plant was used to treat hemorrhoids. [23] A number of species, most notably A. mangium (hickory wattle), A. mearnsii (black wattle) and A. saligna (coojong), are economically important and are widely planted globally for wood products, tannin, firewood and fodder. [8] A. melanoxylon (blackwood) and A. aneura (mulga) supply some of the most attractive timbers in the genus. [6] Black wattle bark supported the tanning industries of several countries, and may supply tannins for production of waterproof adhesives. [6]

Acacia is repeatedly mentioned in the Book of Exodus, perhaps referring to Acacia raddiana , in regards to the construction of the Tabernacle. [24]

Acacia is a common food source and host plant for butterflies of the genus Jalmenus. The imperial hairstreak, Jalmenus evagoras, feeds on at least 25 acacia species. [25]

Acacia honey is not collected from plants in the acacia family, but rather from Robinia pseudoacacia , known as black locust in North America. Honey collected from Caragana arborescens is sometimes also called (yellow) acacia honey. See also Monofloral honey.

The hardened sap of various species of the acacia tree are known as acacia gum. Acacia gum is used as an emulsifier in food, a binder for watercolour painting, an additive to ceramic glazes, a binding in gum bichromate photography, a protective layer in the lithographic processes and as a binder to bind together fireworks.

Wattle bark collected in Australia in the 19th century was exported to Europe where it was used in the tanning process. One ton of wattle or mimosa bark contained about 150 lbs of pure tannin. [26]

Cultivation

Some species of acacia - notably A. baileyana, A. dealbata and A. pravissima - are cultivated as ornamental garden plants. The 1889 publication 'Useful native plants of Australia' describes various uses for eating. [27]

Toxicity

Some species of acacia contain psychoactive alkaloids, and some contain potassium fluoroacetate, a rodent poison. [28]

Related Research Articles

<i>Acacia cultriformis</i> perennial tree or shrub of the genus Acacia native to Australia

Acacia cultriformis, known as the knife-leaf wattle, dogtooth wattle, half-moon wattle or golden-glow wattle, is a perennial tree or shrub of the genus Acacia native to Australia. It is widely cultivated, and has been found to have naturalised in Asia, Africa, North America, New Zealand and South America. A. cultriformis grows to a height of about 4 m (13 ft) and has triangle-shaped phyllodes. The yellow flowers appear from August to November in its natural range. Its attractive foliage and bright flowers make it a popular garden plant.

<i>Acacia denticulosa</i> species of plant

Acacia denticulosa, commonly known as sandpaper wattle, is a species of Acacia native to the south-west of Western Australia. A spindly shrub 1–4 m high, it flowers from September to October, producing dense, curved, yellow flower spikes.

<i>Acacia parramattensis</i> species of plant

Acacia parramattensis, commonly known as Parramatta wattle, is a tree of the family Fabaceae native to the Blue Mountains and surrounding regions of New South Wales. It is a tall shrub or tree to about 15 m (50 ft) in height with finely divided bipinnate leaves and yellow flowers that appear over summer. It generally grows in woodland or dry sclerophyll forest on alluvial or shale-based soils, generally with some clay content.

<i>Acacia decurrens</i> species of plant

Acacia decurrens, commonly known as black wattle or early green wattle, is a perennial tree or shrub native to eastern New South Wales, including Sydney, the Greater Blue Mountains Area, the Hunter Region, and south west to the Australian Capital Territory. It grows to a height of 2–15 m (7–50 ft) and it flowers from July to September.

<i>Acaciella</i> genus of plants

Acaciella is a Neotropical genus of flowering plants in the legume family, Fabaceae, and its subfamily Mimosoideae. Its centre of diversity is along the Mexican Pacific coast. They are unarmed, have no extrafloral nectaries and the polyads of their pollen are 8-celled. Though its numerous free stamens is typical of Acacia s.l., it has several characteristics in common with genus Piptadenia. Its pollen and free amino acids resemble that of Senegalia. Molecular studies place it sister to a monophyletic clade comprising elements of genus Acacia, and the tribe Ingeae. A nectary ring is present between the stamens and ovary, in common with Acacia subg. Aculeiferum.

<i>Acacia pubescens</i> species of plant

Acacia pubescens, also known as the downy wattle, is an endangered species of wattle found in the Sydney Basin in eastern New South Wales. Much of its habitat has vanished with the growth of the city of Sydney.

<i>Acacia fulva</i> species of plant

Acacia fulva, known colloquially as velvet wattle or soft wattle, is a species of Acacia native to eastern Australia.

<i>Acacia cana</i> species of plant

Acacia cana, or commonly named as boree or the cabbage-tree wattle or broad-leaved nealie, is part of the family Fabaceae and sub-family Mimosoideae. It is a dense shrub- tree that can grow to 6 metres (20 ft) high and is a perennial plant meaning it has long life span and doesn’t necessary produce a high amount of seed. The cabbage-tree wattle heavily flowers from August till October and relies on animals and insects for pollination and dispersal of seeds. This least concern acacia species is found in the western plains of New South Wales and Central Queensland the habitats of these areas are found to be sandy soils and gibber plains.

<i>Acacia anomala</i> species of plant

Acacia anomala, commonly known as grass wattle is a shrub belonging to the genus Acacia. It is native to a small area along the west coast of Western Australia, and is listed as a vulnerable species under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act and the Commonwealth Environmental Protection Act.

Acacia dermatophylla is a shrub belonging to the genus Acacia and the subgenus Phyllodineae that is endemic to southern parts of Western Australia.

Acacia gregorii, commonly known as Gregory's wattle, is a shrub belonging to the genus Acacia and the subgenus Phyllodineae native to Western Australia.

<i>Acacia melleodora</i> species of plant

Acacia melleodora, commonly known as scented wax wattle,waxy wattle, honey wattle or honey scented wattle, is a shrub belonging to the genus Acacia and the subgenus Phyllodineae that is endemic to arid parts of central Australia.

<i>Acacia calcicola</i> species of plant

Acacia calcicola is a shrub or tree of the genus Acacia and the subgenus Plurinerves that is native to parts of central Australia. Common names for this species include; shrubby wattle, shrubby mulga, myall-gidgee, northern myall and grey myall. Indigenous Australians the Pitjantjatjara peoples know the tree as ikatuka, the Warlpiri know it as jirlarti and the Arrernte know it as irrakwetye.

<i>Acacia simsii</i> species of plant

Acacia simsii is a shrub belonging to the genus Acacia in the Fabaceae family. It is native to New Guinea and northern Australia. In Australia it is found in both the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Acacia acrionastes is a shrub belonging to the genus Acacia and the subgenus Phyllodineae that is native to parts of eastern Australia.

Acacia burbidgeae, commonly known as Burbidge's wattle, is a shrub or tree belonging to the genus Acacia and the subgenus Phyllodineae that is endemic to parts of New South Wales and Queensland.

Acacia arbiana is a species of wattle that is endemic to Queensland.

References

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