Acacia dealbata (acacia bernier)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Impact Summary
- Environmental Impact
- Impact: Biodiversity
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Wood Products
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Acacia dealbata Link
Preferred Common Name
- acacia bernier
Other Scientific Names
- Acacia decurrens var. dealbata (Link) F. Muell.
- Racosperma dealbatum (Link) Pedley
International Common Names
- English: aroma; mimosa tree; silver green wattle; silver wattle; Sydney black wattle; wattle bark
- French: acacie blanchatre; mimosa argente
Local Common Names
- France: mimosa
- Germany: Australische Silber- Akazie; Mimosenbaum
- Italy: acacia bianca
- Netherlands: mimosa
- ACADA (Acacia dealbata)
- silver wattle
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Fabales
- Family: Fabaceae
- Subfamily: Mimosoideae
- Genus: Acacia
- Species: Acacia dealbata
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
A. dealbata was described in Enum. Hort. Berol. 2: 445 (1822). The specific epithet is derived from the Latin 'dealbatus', meaning 'covered with white powder'; this refers to the whitish or silvery appearance of the canopy (Boland et al., 1984). Its common name, silver wattle, also refers to this characteristic. A small-leafed form, most commonly found at higher altitudes, is currently under investigation for subspecific rank by M.D. Tindale (National Herbarium of New South Wales). A. dealbata has a similar morphology to other Botrycephalae species such as A. nano-dealbata, found only in Victoria and distinguished by its shorter pinnules and a petiolar gland, and is sometimes confused with A. mearnsii, A. silvestris, A. leucoclada (Doran and Turnbull, 1997) and A. decurrens (Whibley and Symon, 1992).
DescriptionTop of page
Plant TypeTop of page
DistributionTop of page
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 17 Feb 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Planted||Reference||Notes|
|Madagascar||Present||Introduced||Planted||Original citation: Weber (2003)|
|-Jammu and Kashmir||Present||Introduced||Planted|
|Indonesia||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|Federal Republic of Yugoslavia||Present||Introduced|
|-Corsica||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced||Planted|
|-Azores||Present||Introduced||Original citation: Weber (2003)|
|-California||Present||Introduced||Original citation: California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) (2003)|
|-New South Wales||Present||Native||Planted|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
The first acacias, including A. dealbata, were introduced into Sri Lanka in 1870 to supply fuelwood for the tea estates and railways in the highlands. Initially it became popular due to its attractive flowers but with its rapid growth it became useful for the afforestation of marginal lands (Midgley and Vivekanandan, 1987). Since 1960 about 50 acacia species have been introduced into China (Pan and Yang, 1987) and the area of A. dealbata plantation in China is approximately 300 ha (Wang and Fang, 1991). It has become naturalized in parts of New Zealand (Pollock et al., 1986).
A. dealbata was probably introduced into South Africa after being confused with black wattle (A. mearnsii). Due to its fast growth, tolerance of severe frosts and usefulness for poles and firewood, it was planted extensively near the Drakensberg and the mistbelt regions of Natal (Campbell et al., 1990). In these areas and in the Orange Free State it is now seriously invasive (Whibley and Symon, 1992). It was planted in Kenya and Zimbabwe in the early 1900s but was soon replaced with A. mearnsii which had higher tannin yields (Streets, 1962). A. dealbata was introduced into West Africa from North Africa (Cossalter, 1987).
A. dealbata was introduced to Chile as an ornamental (Montenegro et al., 1991) and has become established along highways and drainage lines. According to Montenegro et al. (1991) it is now abundant in all types of disturbed sites in mediterranean climate zones across Chile, and can even recruit young plants in mechanically disturbed sites. It has become naturalized in the Nilgiri and Palni Hills in India (Troup, 1921). In France and other parts of southern Europe it is known as 'mimosa' where it is used in the cut flower trade and in perfumes (Doran and Turnbull, 1997). In California, USA, it is suspected of aggressive behaviour in natural areas, and is listed as one of a number of species for which more information is required in this regard Cal-IPC (2003). It is listed as an invasive species in Portugal (Marchante and Marchante, 2003) and appears on a checklist of plant invaders in Spain for which further monitoring is recommended (Dana et al., 2003).
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
HabitatTop of page
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Rail / roadsides||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural grasslands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Although there is interest from many countries, there are no large scale commercial plantations of A. dealbata (Neilsen et al., 1998) and consequently there has been little research carried out on provenance variation or breeding. Given the wide range of environments in which A. dealbata occurs, it is likely that genetic variation will be important in this species (Kube et al., 1996). Recently trials by Kube et al. (1996) and Neilsen et al. (1998) have been established in Tasmania and although conclusive recommendations cannot yet be made, preliminary results indicate that there may be important variation both between and within provenances. Neilsen et al. (1998) found variation in growth at regional, provenance and family level with the majority of variation for growth rate occurring at the family level. Kube et al. (1996) found a heritability of 0.21 for height growth of A. dealbata at age 16 months. A putative hybrid, endemic to Victoria involving A. dealbata and A. baileyana has been noted by Willis (1972) and Tame (1992).
Physiology and Phenology
In Australia, flowering occurs in winter to spring (July to November) (Morrison and Davies, 1991). The period between flowering and seed maturation is 5-6 months (Boland, 1987). A. dealbata has a moderately long lifespan for acacia species, exceeding 20 years (Boland, 1987).
Propagation of A. dealbata is by seed. Germination rate averages 74% and there are approximately 53,400 viable seeds/kg (Doran and Turnbull, 1997). A. dealbata suckers extensively from roots and coppices easily from wounded stumps (Campbell et al., 1990).
A. dealbata occurs naturally in the cool to warm subhumid climatic zones, sometimes into the humid zone. In most of the mainland Australian native range, the mean maximum temperature of the warmest month is 20-28°C and the mean minimum of the coolest month is close to 0°C. The average annual number of frosts is 20-80 with varying snowfalls (Boland et al., 1984). In coastal regions of Tasmania, frosts decrease to an average of 2 per year. The average number of days when 32°C is exceeded is 1-15 (Doran and Turnbull, 1997). The mean annual rainfall is 600-1000 mm (up to 1500 mm) the lowest recorded being 300-500 mm. Seasonal distribution varies from a summer maximum in northern New South Wales, to a winter maximum in central-western Victoria and Tasmania. The average annual number of rain days is 85-120, but may be as high as 130-170 days in Victoria and Tasmania (Doran and Turnbull, 1997).
A. dealbata is found mainly on the tablelands and foothills of southeastern Australia and in Tasmania. Topography varies from high plateaux to deep mountain valleys (Boland et al., 1984) growing in hilly country, often on steep slopes and along river banks. Soil types range from deep and fertile forest podsols, clays and gravelly clays of moderate drainage to well-drained stony slopes, volcanic brown earths and lateritic krasnozems. Substrates include basalt, granite and sandstone (Doran and Turnbull, 1997).
A. dealbata is often a dominant shrub in eucalypt forests and is a small tree in clearings or on disturbed sites where it regenerates vigorously. On better sites it is found growing with Eucalyptus fastigata, E. regnans and E. viminalis while on drier sites and at higher altitudes it is found with E. radiata subsp. robertsonii, E. dives and E. nortonii (Boland et al., 1984).
Roughley (1987) found that 75-100% of rhizobium strains will nodulate A. dealbata. New introductions to Sri Lanka demonstrated good nodulation (Midgley and Vivekanandan, 1987) and Fangqiu et al. (1998) note that seedlings grown for trials in China produced root nodules within three months. Inoculation techniques in the nursery are described by Doran (1997).
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||-8|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||10||16|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||20||28|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||0||2|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Mean annual rainfall||300||1830||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Special soil tolerances
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Diseases such as wire-stem rot and fungal rot were known to cause problems in trials planted in China (Fangqiu et al., 1998). Various fungi have also been reported as causing serious losses to A. dealbata stock in a number of nurseries (Ito and Shibukawa, 1956; Terashita, 1962). Lee (1993) provides a summary of diseases recorded on A. dealbata in several parts of the world.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||None|
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Dense thickets, however, disrupt water flow and increase erosion along stream banks (Weber, 2003) and inhibit the growth of other vegetation (Weber, 2003). A. dealbata is also considered to be allelopathic (Reigosa et al., 1984).
Impact: BiodiversityTop of page
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Highly mobile locally
- Has high reproductive potential
- Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
A. dealbata is a superior quality pulpwood and Logan (1987) notes it has a higher basic density than other fast growing hardwoods. Its kraft pulping and papermaking properties make it suitable for a range of paper and paperboard products such as linerboards, bag and wrapping papers, white boards and writing and printing paper. It has the levels of brightness required for some high grade papers (Clark et al., 1994), and it has lower alkali requirements than most eucalypts (Phillips et al., 1991). It is a satisfactory fuelwood, is used as a furniture timber and occasionally for wood wool, poles, and has good gluing properties (Doran and Turnbull, 1997).
A. dealbata is not generally known as a source of animal fodder in Australia, but it has been recommended for this purpose (RCL, 1985). It is also used in the Nilgiri Hills of southern India for fodder (Doran and Turnbull, 1997). The flowers are used for perfume production and French manufacturers recognize the extract for its ability as a blender and 'smoothing agent' for synthetics and as a fixative in high grade perfume (Poucher, 1984; Boland, 1987). A. dealbata is a valuable source of pollen for bees (Clemson, 1985). Lindenmayer et al. (1994) found the sugar content of A. dealbata gum was 48.6%. Its gum may be used as a substitute for gum arabic and occasionally its bark is used for tanning production but is lower yielding and poorer quality when compared with A. mearnsii (Doran and Turnbull, 1997). Wool may be dyed yellow-fawn or green using A. dealbata leaves depending on the mordants used (Martin, 1974).
Uses ListTop of page
- Boundary, barrier or support
- Erosion control or dune stabilization
- Shade and shelter
- Soil improvement
Human food and beverage
- Honey/honey flora
- Carved material
- Essential oils
- Miscellaneous materials
Wood ProductsTop of page
- Building poles
- Industrial and domestic woodware
- Tool handles
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.Cultural Control
Fire can be used as a control device as it can reduce the soil seedbank by killing seeds or inducing germination which can then be chemically controlled (Campbell et al., 1990). Note that in cultivation, fire has been used to stimulate regeneration in older plantations. A single hot fire favours regeneration of mature acacia stands (Ellis and Graley, 1987). After a fire in Sri Lanka, up to 32,000 seedlings per hectare were found and at two years of age had an average height of 3-4m (Weeraratne, 1964).
Weber, 2003 reports mechanical control by ringbarking or digging out plants.
Methods of chemical control are outlined by Delabraze and Valette (1979), Fagg and Flinn (1983), Fagg and Cameron (1989) and Campbell et al. (1990) but they are expensive. Weber 2003 lists approaches including chemical control by basal stem treatment, stump treatment or foliar application.
Biological control methods are available but are not appropriate in regions where other acacias are in commercial use, eg. black wattle (A. mearnsii) for tannin (Stubbings, 1977).
Cut stumps need to be treated with herbicides to prevent resprouting and should be kept less than 15 cm in height while follow up removal of emerging seedlings, control of coppice growth etc should occur after large clearing attempts (Weber, 2003).
ReferencesTop of page
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Boland DJ, 1987. Genetic resources and utilisation of Australian bipinnate acacias (Botrycephalae). ACIAR Proceedings, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, No. 16, 29-37; In Australian acacias in developing countries. Proceedings of an international workshop, Gympie, Qld., Australia, 4-7 August 1986 [edited by Turnbull, J.W.]; 45 ref.
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Distribution MapsTop of page
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