Chichester, NSW

Otways, Vic.

Habit, Tasmania


Natural populations

Acacia melanoxylon is widespread in eastern Australia, extending from the Atherton Tableland in northern Queensland, south through tablelands and coastal escarpments of southeast Queensland, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Victoria to Tasmania and South Australia [1,2,3]. Disjunctions occur throughout its range, especially in Queensland and South Australia. Tallest trees occur in the south of its range, especially in Tasmania where they may attain up to 40 m in height, but elsewhere they are usually 10-20 m tall. It grows on a wide range of differing habitats from cool montane sites to tropical lowlands and on a wide variety of soil types [1,2,3].

Flowering and seeds

Flowering in this species usually occurs in late winter–spring in the north and spring–summer in the south, although flowering and fruiting has been noted to occur throughout the year in some areas of its range [1,2,3]. Pods mature  summer–autumn with a mid-February peak [4]. At high elevations pods may be retained in the tree into late autumn and winter. There are about 60 viable seeds per gram [4]. Nicking or boiling the seeds in water for a minute at 100°C is required to induce germination. The seeds start to germinate in about 5 days if grown at 25-30°C [4].

Cultivation and uses

Acacia melanoxylon is a long-lived, nitrogen-fixing tree. This species is considered slightly to moderately salt tolerant and exhibits provenance variation in attributes such as growth performance and frost tolerance [5]. It grows best in areas that experience moderate to high rainfall with limited potential on sites that receive less than 600 mm mean annual rainfall [2,3]. The wood of this species is prized as a premium furniture timber, including cabinet work, panelling, inlays, bent work, staves and has good acoustic qualities making it suitable for stringed instruments [1,2,3]. The timber is often used for sliced veneer because of its limited availability. Although most timber on the market is harvested from natural stands in Tasmania, it is now grown as a plantation species for high value timber production in some areas of southern Australia [6,7].

Key descriptors for southern provenances:
Climate parameters

Rainfall distribution pattern: uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 9-18 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 23-27 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: -3-7 °C
Frosts per year: frost free or more or less frost free, up to 20 or greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C) or heavy (greater than -5°C)
Tolerance of climate extremes
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range or tolerates heavy frosts colder than -5°C

Key descriptors for northern tropical provenances:
Climate parameters
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer
Mean annual temperature: 18-24 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 27-30 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 6-10 °C
Frosts per year: frost free or more or less frost free
Tolerance of climate extremes
Frost: more or less intolerant

Potentially undesirable attributes
Growth habit: mod. to strong propensity to root sucker

Key descriptors in common:
Climate parameters
Annual rainfall: 750-1500 mm
Altitude: 5-1500 metres
Tolerance of climate extremes
Drought: known to be drought sensitive
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, heavy clay (greater than 50% clay), light to medium clay (35-50% clay) or loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam
Soil pH reaction: acidic (less than 6.5) or neutral (6.5-7.5)
Soil depth: moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage: well-drained
Salinity: non-saline
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in pH: acidity
Extremes in texture: clayey
Salinity: nil - sensitive to saline soils or slight (2-4 dS m-1)
Soil waterlogging tolerance: nil - sensitive to waterlogged soils
Biological traits under cultivation

Habit: evergreen tree 5-10 m tall, tree 10-20 m tall, tree > 20 m tall or usually produces a clear trunk
Longevity: moderate to long lived (>15 years)
Growth rate: fast, moderate or slow
Biological traits under cultivation
Coppicing ability: nil or negligible or vigorous, responds to pruning, pollarding
Root system: shallow and spreading, fixes nitrogen via root symbiot
Erosion control potential: excellent for clayey sites
Shade tolerance: tolerates partial shade
Wood density: low (less than 600 kg/cubic metre) or mod. to high (greater than 600 kg/cubic metre)
Carbon sequestration potential: moderate
Potential farm use: good ornamental attributes or shelterbelt or shade for stock
Specialty products: pollen has value for apiculture
Traditional Aboriginal uses: fish poison, gum or resin (eaten or for adhesives), implements/artefacts, weapons
Urban use: good as an ornamental or amenity plant, suitable as a screen or hedge
Wood products: craftwood (for turnery etc.), flooring (including parquetry), light construction, panelling, speciality timber for quality furniture or speciality wood valued for musical instruments, wood composites
Potentially undesirable attributes
Fire sensitivity: variable - some plants coppice back or killed by severe fires (seeder)
Growth habit: shallow roots may outcompete adjacent plants
Foliage: highly susceptible to browsing by animals
Weediness: high potential based on its biology


[1] Boland DJ, Brooker MIH, Chippendale GM, Hall N, Hyland BPM, Johnson RD, Kleinig DA, McDonald MW, Turner JD (2006) Forest Trees of Australia. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

[2] Maslin, B.R. and McDonald, M.W. (2004) AcaciaSearch-evaluation of Acacia as a woody crop option for southern Australia. Rural Industries Research Development Corporation Publication No. 03/017, Canberra.

[3] Doran JC, Turnbull JW (eds.) (1997) Australian Trees and Shrubs: species for land rehabilitation and farm planting in the tropics. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra [ACIAR books online:]

[4] Gunn BV (2001) Australian Tree Seed Centre Operations Manual. Internal Publication, CSIRO Australian Tree Seed Centre, ACT. [Online at  Accessed March 2008]

[5] Marcar NE, Crawford DF (2004) Trees for Saline Landscapes. RIRDC Publication Number 03/108, Canberra.

[6] Beadle CL, Brown AG (2007) Acacia Utilisation and Management: Adding Value. Proceedings of a Blackwood Industry group (BIG) Workshop, 26–29th April 2006, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Project No. WS045-08.

[7] RIRDIC Report on the Blackwood Industry group (BIG):

Internet links

ABRS Species Bank:

Charles Sturt University's Virtual Herbarium:

eFloraSA Electronic Flora of South Australia:

PlantNET National Herbarium of New South Wales:

RIRDC online publication:


World Wide Wattle:] and