Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Acacia auriculiformis A.Cunn. ex Benth.

Kingdom:Plantae
Phylum/Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Eudicots
Order:Fabales
Family:Fabaceae
Genus:Acacia
Species:A. auriculiformis
Status:Exotic. Naturalised. Cultivated.

Description

A medium-sized evergreen tree, it grows to a height of 30 metres. The crown is sparse to dense and open. The bark is deeply fissured in old trees. True leaves are twice-pinnate, seen only in very young seedlings, where the transition to the curved green, flattened leaf stalks (phyllodes) that function as leaves can be followed. Phyllodes curved, 10-16 x 1.5-2 cm, 4-6 times as long as wide, with 3 or 4 major longitudinal veins. Flowers are in narrow stalks, yellow, bisexual and mildly fragrant. Fruits are green pods, tightly curled, turning brown and splitting open with maturity. The black seeds then hang out on strings of yellow aril to attract birds that eat both to later excrete the hard seeds, thus spreading the plant far and wide.

Read more about the Fabales order.
Read more about the Fabaceae family.

Distribution

Native to Thursday Island in the Torres Straits, the tree spreads to Queensland and the northern part of North Territory, to New Guinea and the Kai Islands. It was subsequently spread to the tropics.

Localities

Found throughout Singapore and its offshore islands.

Ecological Role

As it bears nodules containing nitrogen-fixing bacteria, it can be used to enrich areas where the soil is barren. It can also be used to control soil erosion.

Human Uses

The wood is hardy and used for furniture, veneer, as a fuel or the production of charcoal. The trees are used in erosion control, as shade trees for coffee and cocoa as well as wayside trees. Plantations have been established to harvest the wood for pulp producetion. The bark is used for the tanning of leather.

References

Chong, K. Y., H. T. W. Tan & R. T. Corlett, 2009. A Checklist of the Total Vascular Plant Flora of Singapore: Native, Naturalised and Cultivated Species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore. 273 pp.

Wee, Y. C., 1990. A Guide to the Wayside Trees of Singapore. 2nd Edition. Singapore Science Centre, Singapore. 160 pp.

Wee, Y. C., 2003. Tropical Trees and Shrubs: A Selection for Urban Plantings. Sun Tree Publishing, Singapore. 392 pp.

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