Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Acacia crassicarpa
(northern wattle)

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Datasheet

Acacia crassicarpa (northern wattle)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 13 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Acacia crassicarpa
  • Preferred Common Name
  • northern wattle
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • A. crassicarpa, native to Queensland, Australia and southern New Guinea, has proved to be one of the fastest-growing acacias for planting on degraded sites in seasonally dry tropical areas, especially in Indone...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Wemenever, Papua New Guinea.
TitleTree habit
CaptionWemenever, Papua New Guinea.
CopyrightLex Thomson/CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products
Wemenever, Papua New Guinea.
Tree habitWemenever, Papua New Guinea.Lex Thomson/CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products
TitleShrub habit
Caption
CopyrightMaurice McDonald/CSIRO Forestry & Forest Products
Shrub habitMaurice McDonald/CSIRO Forestry & Forest Products
TitleShrubland
Caption
CopyrightMaurice McDonald/CSIRO Forestry & Forest Products
ShrublandMaurice McDonald/CSIRO Forestry & Forest Products
TitleBark
Caption
CopyrightMaurice McDonald/CSIRO Forestry & Forest Products
BarkMaurice McDonald/CSIRO Forestry & Forest Products
TitleInflorescence
Caption
CopyrightMaurice McDonald/CSIRO Forestry & Forest Products
InflorescenceMaurice McDonald/CSIRO Forestry & Forest Products
TitlePods
Caption
CopyrightMaurice McDonald/CSIRO Forestry & Forest Products
PodsMaurice McDonald/CSIRO Forestry & Forest Products
1. habit
2. flowering branch
3. pod
TitleLine artwork
Caption1. habit 2. flowering branch 3. pod
CopyrightPROSEA Foundation
1. habit
2. flowering branch
3. pod
Line artwork1. habit 2. flowering branch 3. podPROSEA Foundation

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Acacia crassicarpa A. Cunn. ex Benth.

Preferred Common Name

  • northern wattle

Other Scientific Names

  • Racosperma crassicarpum (Benth.) Pedley

International Common Names

  • English: brown salwood; hickory wattle; northern golden wattle; thick-pod salwood; thick-podded salwood

Local Common Names

  • Cook Islands: akasia
  • Papua New Guinea: red wattle

Trade name

  • brown salwood

Summary of Invasiveness

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A. crassicarpa, native to Queensland, Australia and southern New Guinea, has proved to be one of the fastest-growing acacias for planting on degraded sites in seasonally dry tropical areas, especially in Indonesia and South-East Asia. It is known to have been widely introduced for trials throughout the world, though available records do not indicate that it proved successful everywhere. However, that it is widely promoted as a tropical timber tree, and as it clearly has the potential to become invasive as have so many other exotic Acacia species, special care should be taken when considering A. crassicarpa for further introduction, and further work is required to identify where it currently exists and may be spreading. It is reported as being invasive only on the Cook Islands, and A. crassicarpa was evaluated as a high risk species for the Pacific region, and as such it could be considered as a potential invasive species in the future.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Subfamily: Mimosoideae
  •                                 Genus: Acacia
  •                                     Species: Acacia crassicarpa

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The accepted name and authority used in the Plant List (2013) is A. crassicarpa Benth, and not A. crassicarpa A. Cunn. ex Benth as used in some other publications (e.g. USDA-ARS, 2014).

A. crassicarpa was first described by the British taxonomist George Bentham in the London Journal of Botany (1: 379, 1842) based on data and specimens collected by the colonial botanist Alan Cunningham in 1821 from Lizard Island, northern Queensland, Australia. The specific epithet is from the Latin word crassus, meaning thick, and the Greek word carpus, meaning fruit, referring to the thick pods. It belongs to the Mimosoideae subfamily, section Juliflorae, tribe Acacieae.

Within this tribe, A. crassicarpa is a member of the A. aulacocarpa group (McDonald and Maslin, 1998), and within this group, two subgroups within the A. aulacocarpa group are defined based mainly of their mode of pod dehiscence (McDonald and Maslin, 2000). The A. aulacocarpa subgroup comprises A. aulacocarpa, A. celsa and A. disparrima that have pods that dehisce along the dorsal suture, whereas the A. crassicarpa subgroup comprising A. crassicarpa, A. lamprocarpa, A. midgleyi, A. peregrina and A. wetarensis have pods that dehisce along the ventral suture (McDonald and Maslin, 2000). McDonald and Maslin (2000) also provide illustrations and a key to all the species in both sub-groups.

In the past, A. crassicarpa was often confused with A. aulacocarpa, and care should be taken with older literature, as the binomial A. aulacocarpa used to be widely misapplied (McDonald and Maslin, 1998). A putative natural hybrid is also known between A. crassicarpa and A. aulacocarpa from near Townsville, Queensland, Australia, being small trees to 4 m tall with a similar stature to A. aulacocarpa. Confirmed natural hybrids between A. crassicarpa and A. peregrina have been identified from seed collected from a natural population of A. peregrina in Western Province, Papua New Guinea (McDonald and Maslin, 1998).

Description

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A. crassicarpa is typically an erect, single-stemmed tree, commonly up to 15 m tall in Queensland, Australia or up to 25-30 m tall in New Guinea, with a spreading crown. However, populations of spreading shrubs only 1 m tall are also known from coastal dunes in Queensland. The bark is hard, grey or grey-brown, with deep longitudinal furrows when mature, the inner bark being pinkish-red and fibrous. The phyllodes (leaves) are borne on yellowish, slightly angled branchlets which are sometimes pendulous. Phyllodes are resinous, glabrous, pale green to grey-green, normally lanceolate-falcate, broadest below the middle and curved along both margins, 8-27 cm long and 1-4.5 cm wide. The phyllodes have numerous, fine, parallel, longitudinal nerves, with 3 primary and 3-4 secondary nerves more evident than the rest, with the lowermost main nerves confluent at the base of the phyllode and contiguous with the lower margin for a short distance. The pulvinus is 5-16 mm long and extends further along the abaxial margin than the adaxial margin. The light golden to pale yellow inflorescences are spikes 2-7 cm long, occurring in groups of 2-6 in the axils of branchlet extremities. The ovary is densely hairy on the upper half. Pods are resinous, dull brown, oblong to narrowly oblong, straight, woody, usually flat, 3-12 cm long, 1-4.5 cm wide, dehiscing along the ventral suture, with oblique and scarcely raised nerves. Seeds are transversely arranged in the pod, black, shiny, 5-6 mm long and 3-4 mm accross, round in cross-section, with a pale cream, many-folded funicle/aril.

This description is adapted from McDonald and Maslin (1998) that includes a systematic treatment of the whole A. aulacocarpa group. Illustrated botanical descriptions are provided by Pedley (1978), Simmons (1981), Maslin and McDonald (1996) and Thomson (1994), the latter also included an annotated bibliography.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Tree
Woody

Distribution

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The native range of A. crassicarpa is centered in northern Queensland, extending south along the north-eastern coast, on islands in Torres Strait, and on the south coast of New Guinea extending (Australia’s Virtual Herbarium, 2014). In New Guinea it occurs in the southern lowlands from south-eastern Irian Jaya, Indonesia and east to the Oriomo River region of Papua New Guinea. In north Queensland it extends from the Cape York Peninsula south to Townsville with a southern small population near Mackay. In the Torres Strait it occurs on Badu, Banks, Horn and Prince of Wales Islands which are continental islands (McDonald and Maslin, 1998). Single records are also reported from Northern Australia and an island close to Java (Australia’s Virtual Herbarium, 2014) but such isolated outliers may have been introduced.

A. crassicarpa is known to be grown as a successful plantation tree throughout much of Indonesia, South-East Asia, and also in South Asia and in some Pacific islands, though is reported to be invasive only in the Cook Islands. However, it is very likely that the species is present in more countries than indicated in the distribution table, for example in Africa and South America where it is currently not recorded.

Distribution Table

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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.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

Asia

Brunei DarussalamPresent Planted
CambodiaPresent Planted
ChinaPresentIntroducedYang et al., 1989
-GuangdongPresent Planted
-HainanPresentIntroduced Planted
IndiaPresentSharma and Florence, 1997
-KarnatakaPresent Planted
-KeralaPresent Planted
-Tamil NaduPresent Planted
-West BengalPresent Planted
IndonesiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Irian JayaPresentNative Natural USDA-ARS, 2014
-JavaPresentIntroducedAustralia's Virtual Herbarium, 2014
-KalimantanPresentIntroduced Planted Otsamo and Adjers, 1995; Turvey, 1996
-Nusa TenggaraPresentIntroducedMcKinnell and, 1991
-SumatraPresentIntroduced Planted
LaosPresentIntroduced Planted Mounda, 1993; Pinyopusarerk et al., 1996
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedThapa, 1992
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentIntroducedAwang et al., 1998
-SabahPresentIntroduced Planted Sim and Gan, 1991; Thapa, 1992
MyanmarPresent Planted
NepalPresentIntroduced Planted Farm, 1988; Karki and Karki, 1993
PhilippinesPresent Planted
Sri LankaPresent Planted
TaiwanPresent Planted
ThailandPresentIntroduced Planted USDA-ARS, 2014
VietnamPresentIntroduced Planted Nguyen and Le, 1998

Africa

BotswanaPresent Planted
Central African RepublicPresent Planted
Congo Democratic RepublicPresent Planted
GhanaPresent Planted
GuineaPresent Planted
KenyaPresent Planted
LiberiaPresent Planted
MadagascarPresent Planted
MalawiPresent Planted
MauritiusPresent Planted
MozambiquePresent Planted
NigerPresent Planted
NigeriaPresent Planted
RwandaPresent Planted
SenegalPresent Planted
Sierra LeonePresent Planted
TanzaniaPresent Planted
UgandaPresent Planted
ZambiaPresent Planted
ZimbabwePresent Planted

North America

MexicoPresent Planted
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Planted Cole et al., 1996

Central America and Caribbean

Dominican RepublicPresent Planted
HondurasPresent Planted
NicaraguaPresent Planted
PanamaPresent Planted

South America

BrazilPresent Planted
ChilePresent Planted
ParaguayPresent Planted
PeruPresent Planted

Oceania

AustraliaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroducedAustralia's Virtual Herbarium, 2014
-QueenslandPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-ARS, 2014
Cook IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted Space and Flynn, 2002
FijiPresentIntroduced Planted Casey, 1993
GuamPresent Planted
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresent Planted
New CaledoniaPresent Planted
Papua New GuineaPresentPlanted, Natural
Solomon IslandsPresent Planted
TongaPresent Planted
VanuatuPresent Planted

History of Introduction and Spread

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It was introduced to the Cook Islands as a forestry plantation species, and was reported to be spreading on ‘Atiu, Mangaia and Ma‘uke (Space and Flynn, 2002).

Seeds of A. crassicarpa collected from natural populations in Australia and Papua New Guinea are known to have been sent to Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand and Vietnam (Gunn and Midgley, 1991). Furthermore, records from the Australian Tree Seed Centre (CSIRO, Forestry and Forest Products) from the 1990s show that A. crassicarpa seedlots were also dispatched to a very large number of other countries and island groups including: Benin, Bolivia, Brunei, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chile, Cook Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Gambia, Gilbert Islands, Guam, Guinea, Haiti, Hawaii, Honduras, Leeward Islands, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Uganda, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the West Indies. However, although this list indicates where the species may be present, it does not necessarily imply that it was successfully cultivated in all of these countries or islands, survived and/or naturalized. 

Risk of Introduction

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A. crassicarpa has been widely introduced throughout the world for testing in species trials, and there continues to be significant demand for commercial quantities of seed for the establishment timber plantations in Indonesia and South-East Asia. Thus it is likely to be established in many more countries that it is recorded, and may be introduced further. However, in an Australian/New Zealand weed risk assessment adapted for Hawaii, information on A. crassicarpa resulted in a conclusion that it posed a high risk, with a score of 7 (PIER, 2014).

Habitat

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In Queensland A. crassicarpa is a primarily coastal lowland species found on coastal plains and foothills, at the rear of coastal foredunes and on slopes of stabilised sand dunes (McDonald and Maslin, 1998). It occurs on a variety of mainly sandy soil types which include calcareous beach sands, yellow earths derived from granite, red earths on basic volcanics, red-yellow podzolics over schists, and alluvial and colluvial soils. By contrast, New Guinea populations occur on the gently undulating terrain of the Oriomo Plateau which is a relict alluvial plain (Loffler, 1977). Soils are mainly well-drained, strongly acidic clays (infertile gleyed red and yellow earths, or red and yellow latosols) but it also occurs on imperfectly drained soils subject to flooding in the wet season and rapid drying-out in the dry season.

In Queensland, A. crassicarpa occurs in the understorey of open-forests or open-woodlands associated with Acacia leptocarpa, A. flavescens, A. mangium, A. auriculiformis, A. polystachya, Melaleuca spp., Eucalyptus platyphylla, E. tessellaris, and Lophostemon grandiflorus. On coastal foredunes it occurs in low woodland associated with Casuarina equisetifolia. On Cape York Peninsula A. crassicarpa is also a component of open-forest, low open-forest and woodland and low-woodland associated with E. tetrodonta, Allocasuarina littoralis and Melaleuca spp. (Pedley and Isbell, 1970).

In New Guinea it occurs in woodlands and open-forests most commonly along the ecotone between areas with impeded drainage that support low open savanna woodlands and areas of well-drained alluvium which support closed vine forests (McDonald and Maslin, 1998). Commonly associated species include Acacia mangium, A. leptocarpa, A. "peregrina" ms, A. simsii, Melaleuca cajuputi, M. leucadendra, Lophostemon suaveolens, Asteromyrtus brassii, A. symphyocarpa and Eucalyptus brassiana. Unique acacia forests with an even canopy dominated by either A. crassicarpa or A. mangium are present along the Oriomo River, Papua New Guinea (Skelton, 1987); other genera present include Flindersia, Grevillea, Syzygium and Planchonella. In Papua New Guinea A. crassicarpa has been noted as a vigorous colonizer of degraded soils following slash-and-burn cultivation (Gunn et al., 1991).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Coastal dunes Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial-managed
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Reproductive Biology

A. crassicarpa is usually propagated from seed (direct sowing or in the nursery) but stem cuttings, marcotting or air layering have also been successful (Ryan et al., 1987; Thomson, 1994). The seeds have a hard seed coat, low moisture content and are well-suited to storage in an air-tight container at room temperature (24°C), and pre-treatment such as boiling seeds for 1 minute promotes germination, then allowed to cool and imbibe water for 24 hours, with only swollen sunken seeds being viable and floating seeds are not viable, though other pretreatments have been used. A germination rate of about 70% is usual after pre-treatment, with optimum germination at 25-30°C. Seedlings germinate after five days and all viable seeds have germinated after 25 days (ATSC, 1998; Doran and Gunn, 1987).

Physiology and Phenology

A. crassicarpa is a fast-growing and light-demanding tree adapted to the seasonally dry tropics. It is a nitrogen-fixing tree that produces abundant natural root nodulation. It is fire resistant after ten years of age, and competes favourably against weed species such as Imperata cylindrica. It is reported to be tolerate salt wind, though is susceptible to damage by cyclones and strong winds. Coppicing ability varies with cutting height and provenance (Ryan and Bell, 1989) and is not a suitable regeneration method for the species.

Where introduced in Thailand, active shoot growth is maintained even during the dry season (Puriyakorn and Luanviriyasaeng, 1988). In the native range in Queensland, flower buds were first observed when plants were at 27 months of age, with the main flowering period beginning in April to May and continuing to June and July, during the first dry and relatively cool months of the year, with pods maturing from October to November toward the end of the dry season (McDonald and Maslin, 1998; Ryan and Bell, 1989).

Associations

In open forests in Queensland, Australia, A. crassicarpa is associated with Acacia leptocarpa, A. flavescens, A. mangium, A. auriculiformis, A. polystachya, Melaleuca spp., Eucalyptus platyphylla, E. tessellaris, and Lophostemon grandiflorus, also with Allocasuarina littoralis, E. tetrodonta, and Melaleuca spp., and with Casuarina equisetifolia on low woodlands on coastal dunes (Pedley and Isbell, 1970).

In New Guinea, commonly associated species include Acacia mangium, A. leptocarpa, A. peregrina, A. simsii, Melaleuca cajuputi, M. leucadendra, Lophostemon suaveolens, Asteromyrtus brassii, Asteromyrtus. symphyocarpa and Eucalyptus brassiana. Unique acacia forests with an even canopy dominated by either A. crassicarpa or A. mangium are present along the Oriomo River, Papua New Guinea (Skelton, 1987). Other genera present include Flindersia, Grevillea, Syzygium and Planchonella.

The species readily forms natural nodulation so artificial inoculation of nursery seedlings is not essential (Harwood et al., 1994; Thomson, 1994; Doran et al., 1997).

Environmental Requirements

A. crassicarpa is a fast-growing, light-demanding tree suitable for planting in the seasonally dry tropics, and in its natural habitat the species is found in warm to hot, humid and sub-humid climates in the lowland tropics (Doran et al., 1997). A. crassicarpa is most suited to regions which receive between 1200 and 2800 mm mean annual rainfall with a pronounced dry season of 4-6 months, extending to 1000-3500 mm, though it will also tolerate rainfall as low as 500 mm per year under certain conditions in Australia, and up to 3500 mm in New Guinea. Rainfall often follows a monsoonal pattern with December-March being the wettest period. Length of dry season ranges from around 6 months at the southern limit of the distribution in Australia to 3 months in New Guinea.

Mean maximum of the hottest month is 32-34°C and mean minimum of the coolest month is 12-21°C. Daily maximum temperature exceeds 32°C on 20-40 days each year but rarely goes above 38°C. The mean minimum temperature of the coolest month is 15-22°C. Although the entire natural range of A. crassicarpa is frost-free it has demonstrated tolerance of light frosts in trails at Gympie, Queensland (Ryan and Bell, 1989).

In its native range, it occurs on a variety of mainly sandy soil types which include calcareous beach sands, yellow earths, red earths, red-yellow podzolics, and alluvial and colluvial soils in Australia, whereas in New Guinea, it also occurs on the gently undulating terrain of the Oriomo Plateau which is a relict alluvial plain (Loffler, 1977). Soils are mainly well-drained, strongly acidic clays (infertile gleyed red and yellow earths, or red and yellow latosols) but it also occurs on imperfectly drained soils subject to flooding in the wet season and rapid drying-out in the dry season. Where introduced, it tolerates a range of soil types, particularly those of low fertility. It has been grown successfully on mildly alkaline soils, sandy loams, peaty, highly acidic soils (pH 3.3), shallow, sandy soils and on a site with a shallow water table. Survival after planting out is usually high and trees with a bole over 10 cm in diameter at breast height are fire tolerant, producing vegetative regrowth following fires (Arentz et al., 1995).

A. crassicarpa is mainly a lowland species, with the altitudinal range in New Guinea commonly 20-80 m, whereas in north Queensland it is from sea level to 150 m with minor occurrences at 700 m (McDonald and Maslin, 1998) and even to 900 m where introduced.

In Sabah, Malaysia, A. crassicarpa was preferred for planting on rocky, shallow and sandy soils infested with Imperata cylindrica where it grew to 15-23 m tall and 10-16 cm diameter after 4 years, outperforming A. auriculiformis and A. mangium (Sim and Gan, 1991). A. crassicarpa was the best performing of five Acacia species after 2 years in South Kalimantan (Otsamo and Adjers, 1995), and was one of the better performing Acacia species tested in Nepal, reaching a height of 4.5 m in 1.5 years (Karki and Karki, 1993).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Tolerated > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Tolerated Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
-8 -20 5 900

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 5
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 23 26
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 31 34
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 15 22

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration36number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall5003500mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Summer
Uniform
Winter

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral
  • very acid

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • shallow

Notes on Natural Enemies

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A. crassicarpa is reported to be susceptible to attack by stem borers.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

Seeds are likely to be spread by floods down river valleys and along coasts especially during storms and cyclones.

Vector Transmission

The large seeds may be consumed by large herbivores though there are no specific reports of local distribution by animal vectors.

Accidental Introduction

It is unlikely that the species would be introduced by accident.

Intentional Introduction

A. crassicarpa has been widely introduced throughout the world for testing in species trials, and there continues to be significant demand for commercial quantities of seed for the establishment timber plantations in Indonesia and South-East Asia. It is very likely that it will be further introduced.

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
True seeds (inc. grain)

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Positive
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Environmental Impact

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It is noted as invading open and disturbed areas in the Cook Islands, but was not reported to be invading native forest areas. No other information on the impacts of invasion of A. crassicarpa are available.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant

Uses

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A. crassicarpa is one of the fastest-growing tropical acacias with potential for industrial forestry plantations (McDonald and Maslin, 2000). The wood is dense and is also suitable for burning, and it is recommended as a fuelwood and charcoal tree in Nepal (Karki and Karki, 1993).

The heartwood is golden brown with a reddish cast, and the sapwood is pale brown, though the heartwood of plantation-grown trees tends to be paler than wood sourced from the wild (Arentz et al., 1995). The wood is strong and durable with an air-dry density of 710 kg per cubic metre and a basic density of 620 kg per cubic metre. It has been used for heavy construction, furniture, boatbuilding, flooring, hardboard and veneer, and for the production of wood-wool cement composites (Semple and Evans, 1998). A. crassicarpa was considered as promising as a pulp tree, though inferior to A. aulacocarpa, A. auriculiformis and A. mangium by Clark et al. (1991; 1994), whereas Laurila (1995) considered it one of the best species tested for pulp and paper production amongst eight plantation species in South Kalimantan, Indonesia. 

After five years in Thailand, a provenance from Papua New Guinea yielded 84 t/ha of stem wood, 15 t/ha of branch, 7 t/ha of phyllodes and 88 t/ha of firewood (Kiratiprayoon and Williams, 1991), or 194 t/ha in total, with another trial yielding a total above-ground biomass of 207 t/ha after three years (Visaratana, 1989). On a drier site, it was as productive as other Acacia species tested with a total above-ground biomass of 40 dry t/ha after three years.

Non-wood uses of A. crassicarpa are limited, however. It has been evaluated as a green manure in Nepal with a production rate of 0.77 t/ha (Farm Forestry Project, 1988). The bark was used traditionally to make baskets and rope by villagers in Papua New Guinea, and young roots were roasted and used as a traditional food source in Australia (Cribb and Cribb, 1974).

It is also useful for reclaiming grasslands invaded by Imperata (Thomson, 1994). It also has good potential for shelterbelts, coastal sand dunes fixation and soil improvement and land rehabilitation on a wide range of degraded sites due to the combination of rapid growth, ability to suppress weeds, and abundant Rhizobium nodulation (Doran et al., 1997). A. crassicarpa is thought to not be suitable in agroforestry systems as it is too competitive to grow with agricultural crops (Doran et al., 1997), but it was considered as a possible agroforestry species in Thailand due to the high stem growth and light crown (Kiratiprayoon and Williams, 1991).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage

Environmental

  • Agroforestry
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Land reclamation
  • Revegetation
  • Shade and shelter
  • Soil conservation
  • Soil improvement
  • Windbreak

Fuels

  • Charcoal
  • Fuelwood

Human food and beverage

  • Root crop

Wood Products

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Boats

Charcoal

Furniture

Roundwood

  • Building poles

Sawn or hewn building timbers

  • Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
  • Flooring
  • For light construction
  • Wall panelling

Wood wool

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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A. crassicarpa has morphological affinities to the closely related A. aulacocarpa, the Papua New Guinea species A. peregrina M. W. McDonald & Maslin, and A. midgleyi M.W. McDonald & Maslin. However, A. crassicarpa differs primarily from these species in having larger lanceolate-falcate phyllodes, 2-6 flower spikes per axil and larger, thicker pods (McDonald and Maslin, 1998). 

Prevention and Control

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Control

Hand pulling of seedlings and small saplings are likely to prove effective in small patches. Trees coppice so cutting of larger trees would also require removal of the roots or herbicide stump treatments. No information of herbicides specific to A. crassicarpa are available, however, it is likely that those that have proved effective on closely related Acacia species may also be effective on this species. 

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Noting earlier problems regarding the definition of taxonomical limits to the species and its relationships to other species in the A. aulacocarpa group, previous misidentifications, and its high risk assessment as an invasive species, it is recommended that further work is conducted on this species. Specifically, a detailed assessment of the current distribution of the species is required, alongside that of other species in the group, and an updated assessment of invasions in the Cook Islands and the status of naturalised populations elsewhere where it has been recorded.

References

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Contributors

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04/03/16 Updated by:

Nick Pasiecznik, Agroforestry Enterprises, Villebeuf, Cussy en Morvan, France

03/06/98 Original text by: 

Duncan McDonald, Consultant, UK

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