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Acacia melanoxylon R.Br.
Family Fabaceae
Subfamily Mimosoideae
Common name: blackwood, hickory, sally wattle, lightwood, Mudgerabah (northern N.S.W. Aboriginal name), Mooeyang (Tarra blacks), Tasmanian blackwood, black wattle, black sally

Acacia melanoxylon R.Br. APNI*

Synonyms: Racosperma melanoxylon (R.Br.) Pedley APNI*
Acacia melanoxylon f. frutescens Hochr. APNI*
Acacia melanoxylon var. obtusifolia Ser. APNI*
Mimosa melanoxylon (R.Br.) Poir. APNI*

Description: Erect or spreading tree 6–30 m high; bark deeply fissured, dark grey-black; branchlets angled or flattened, ± hairy, glabrescent.

Phyllodes narrowly elliptic to ± oblanceolate, straight or subfalcate, 6–14 cm long, 7–30 mm wide, glabrous, 3–5 or more longitudinal veins prominent, prominently reticulate between, apex acute to obtuse with a mucro; 1 gland near base; pulvinus 2–4 mm long.

Inflorescences 2–8 in an axillary raceme; axis 2.5–8 cm long; peduncles 5–20 mm long, hairy; heads globose, 30–50-flowered, 5–10 mm diam., pale yellow to ± white.

Pods strongly curved or twisted or coiled, biconvex, usually straight-sided to slightly constricted between seeds, 4–12 cm long, 5–8 mm wide, firmly papery, ± smooth, ± glabrous; margins sometimes sparsely hairy; seeds longitudinal; funicle orange to reddish, folded and ± surrounding seed.

E. Minchin

Photo T.M. Tame

Photo T.M. Tame

Photo J. & P. Edwards

Other photo
Photo J. & P. Edwards


Flowering: usually July–December.

Distribution and occurrence: widespread, especially at higher altitudes, west to Nandewar Ra., Liverpool Ra. and Orange district.

Grows in a variety of habitats, chiefly in wet sclerophyll forest and in or near cooler rainforest.
NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, SC, NT, CT, ST, ?NWS, CWS, SWS
Other Australian states: Qld Vic. Tas. *W.A. S.A.
AVH map***

Similar to Acacia implexa which has a whitish funicle folded over the aril of the seed, slightly different anastomosing venation in the phyllodes, and often pruinose branchlets. In some areas of the tablelands (e.g. on the Northern and Central Tablelands) A. melanoxylon grows as small bushy trees (e.g. as seen along roadsides). Blackwood may grow into a large, long lived tree, and the larger trees have been milled for cabinet timber since early in the nineteenth century. It was also introduced into South Africa as a timber tree, and has in some places become 'weedy'. The heartwood varies from a light reddish brown to dark brown, and the name meaning black wood is derived from this.

Text by P.G. Kodela (last edited May 2012)
Taxon concept: P.G. Kodela & G.J. Harden, Flora of NSW Vol. 2 (2002)

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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