Common name:Australian blackwood
Scientific name:Acacia melanoxylon
Alternative common names:
Paluma blackwood, Sally wattle, Tasmanian blackwood
Australian Blackwood is a tree up to 20 m high, with a bole of about 150 cm in diameter. The bark on older trunks is dark greyish-black in colour, deeply fissured and somewhat scaly. Younger branches areribbed, angular, or flattened towards their tips and are greenish in colour.
These branchletsare usually mostly hairless (glabrousorglabrescent), but the stems of younger plants are sometimes more obviously hairy (denselypubescent).
Where does this species come from?eastern and south-eastern Australia.
What is its invasive status in South Africa?NEMBA - Category 2
Where in South Africa is it a problem?Western Cape, Free State, Eastern Cape, KZN ,Mpumalanga , and Limpopo .
How does it spread?The seeds are spread by animals, particularly birds, and they may also be dispersed in dumped garden waste and contaminated soil. The seed-containing pods are also known to float on water. Root suckers can spread laterally some distance and enable the formation of dense clumps or thickets from a single plant.
Why is it a problem?In South Africa it is a major invader of forests and is a particularly serious threat to 'fynbos' shrubland and grassland areas. It is known to transform these communities by replacing the native non-tree vegetation. It is considered to be difficult to control because of its fast growth rate, vigorous regrowth from root suckers, and prolific regeneration from seed.
What does it look like?Leaves: Alternate - Phyllodes, greyish turning dark dull-green, ± erect, straight to slightly curved, with 3-7 prominent longitudinal veins and fine net-veins between; often bipinnate on young plants and coppice shoots. Flowers: Pale yellow, globular flower heads. Fruit/seeds: Legume - Reddish-brown pods, narrower than leaves, slightly constricted, twisted; seeds almost encircled by pinkish-red seed
Does the plant have any uses?Timber, shelter, and ornamental plants.