Acacia cyclops (coastal wattle)
- 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
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Impact Summary
- Environmental Impact
- Impact: Biodiversity
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Wood Products
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Acacia cyclops A. Cunn. ex G. Don
Preferred Common Name
- coastal wattle
International Common Names
- French: mimosa cyclope
Local Common Names
- Australia: circle-eye-seeded acacia; coastal wattle; western Australia coastal wattle
- Germany: Zyklop- Akazie
- Italy: mimosa cyclops
- South Africa: red eye; rooikrans
- ACACC (Acacia cyclops)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page A. cyclops is an extremely weedy species, although slow growing. Once established over large areas, it is difficult to remove or replace. Cronk and Fuller (1995) report that it forms dense impenetrable stands that shade out native vegetation and that fire promotes spread into natural vegetation. Henderson (2001) reports that it is invasive in South African forest gaps, dunes and along roadsides and watercourses. Binggeli (1999) classed A. cyclops as a highly invasive species. It is a category 2 declared invader in South Africa according to the Department of Agriculture, Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, 1983 (Government of South Africa, 1983; Henderson, 2001). It is present in California, USA (USDA-NRCS, 2002) and Cronk and Fuller (1995) report that this species has is invasive there though this requires verification. It is also present in Portugal and is exhibiting invasive characteristics in Europe.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Fabales
- Family: Fabaceae
- Subfamily: Mimosoideae
- Genus: Acacia
- Species: Acacia cyclops
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page There has been some debate about the placement of Australian wattles in the genus Acacia. Between 1977 and 1989, Pedley of the Queensland herbarium proposed splitting Acacia into several segregate genera supported by findings of workers in France during the late 1960s and 1970s (Pedley, 1987). Pedley also proposed the reinstatement of the genus Racosperma for the majority of Australian wattles. To date, this has not been accepted, based on the argument that the name Racosperma was not validly published in 1835 (Hall and Johnson, 1993), and the need for further research into the systematics of this taxon (Lister et al., 1996).
The specific name cyclops is from Greek, meaning 'round-eye' alluding to the coiling tendency of the fruits.
DescriptionTop of page A. cyclops is a dense, evergreen, bushy shrub, often multi-stemmed. It can also grow as a small tree to 3-8 m tall, with a trunk of 20 cm in diameter and a rounded crown (NAS, 1980; Little, 1983). In windy coastal sites, it forms hedges less than 0.5 m high. A. cyclops has light-green foliage and simple flattened phyllodes (modified leafstalks), narrowly oblong, varnished when young, and growing in a downward vertical position. Phyllodes are 4-9 cm long and 0.5-1.3 cm broad, nearly straight; blunt with a short, hard point curved to one side, tapering to a long-pointed base; stiff and leathery, glabrous, with 3-7 main veins arising from the base, and 1 small gland on the upper edge at the base. Twigs are slender, angled and glabrous (NAS, 1980; Little, 1983). Flowers are lemon yellow, in clusters of two to three. Pods are narrowly oblong, 4-12 cm long and 0.8-1.2 cm broad, flattened, curved or twisted, greyish brown to dark brown and leathery. The pods are not shed but remain on the tree, exposing their seeds to predators and dispersers (NAS, 1980). Seeds are elliptical, flattened, 5 mm long, dark brown and encircled by a thick, red, thread-like oily stalk or funicle (Little, 1983).
Plant TypeTop of page Broadleaved
DistributionTop of page A. cyclops is native to southern Western Australia. At the western end of the Lake Warden System, it frequently grows behind Melaleuca cuticularis (Jaensch et al., 1988), and is now currently spreading from sandy or sandstone soils into coastal bush and heathland (NAS, 1980; Duke, 1983).
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.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Planted||Reference||Notes|
|South Africa||Present||Introduced||1830s||Invasive||Cronk and Fuller , 1995; Henderson , 2001; ILDIS, 2002|
|-Canary Islands||Present||Introduced||Siverio and Montesdeoca, 1990|
|-California||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Cronk and Fuller , 1995|
|Australia||Present||Native||Jaensch et al., 1988; ILDIS, 2002|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page A. cyclops has become a very successful colonizer in South Africa and is classified as a weed there (Moll and Trinder-Smith, 1992; Henderson, 1998; Higgins et al., 1999). Cronk and Fuller (1995) speculate that it first arrived in South Africa when introduced to Baron von Ludwig's private garden in the 1830s and was used to plant the Cape Flats from approximately 1847. It has been widely introduced outside its native range, particularly across Africa, where it has been used for dune stabilization, for firewood, as a fodder tree and as an ornamental. It has also been introduce to coastal Portugal and the Mediterranean.
Risk of IntroductionTop of page The risk of introduction of this species will depend on the degree to which it continues to be promoted as a species for dune stabilization and as a source of fuel and fodder.
HabitatTop of page In its native range, A. cyclops grows in open scrub and rarely forms dense stands (Weber, 2003).
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)|
|Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Coastal areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Biology and EcologyTop of page Physiology and Phenology
In Australia, flowering occurs during September to March and pods mature in January to February (NAS, 1980; Roughley, 1986).
A. cyclops reproduces from seed (NAS, 1980), rarely coppicing and mature trees do not survive felling. Seed germination is enhanced after fire.
A. cyclops is found in arid and semi-arid subtropical areas with mean annual temperatures of 14-19°C and an annual rainfall of 200-1400 mm tolerating very long dry seasons. It is slightly tolerant of frost (Little, 1983; NAS, 1980; Yantasath et al., 1993) and sensitive to waterlogging. It can live in areas with a uniform, bimodal or winter rainfall distribution in Australia, whereas it usually receives summer rainfall in Africa. A. cyclops grows well on calcareous sand or limestone and prefers well drained, sandy or quartzitic soils, but can survive on drier sites such as dune crests (NAS, 1980), on sodic or alkaline soils and those with impeded drainage. It is a lowland species, growing from sea level to 300 m altitude.
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)||1|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||14||19|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||26||33|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||3||10|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||2||12||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||200||1400||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page Summer
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Special soil tolerances
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page No significant pests have been recorded for this species, although members of the seed-predating genus Zulubius may be potential biocontrol agents in South Africa where A. cyclops has become invasive (Holmes et al., 1987; Schaffner, 1987). Acizzia uncatoides, a psyllid pest, has been recorded from ornamental specimens in the Canary Islands (Siverio and Montesdeoca, 1990). Recent trials of Melanterius ?servulus, an Australian seed-feeding weevil suggest its potential as a biological control agent.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page Birds and mammals, including mice and baboons, disperse seeds (Cronk and Fuller, 1995), and Weber (2003) lists ants and small mammals among the seed dispers. A. cyclops was intentionally introduced to South Africa where it has become invasive, and is an intentionally introduced exotic in many other countries.
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||None|
Environmental ImpactTop of page A. cyclops produces large quantities of litter which leads to increased soil nitrogen content (Weber, 2003), and Witkowski, (1991) concluded that the nitrogen status of the fynbos and strandveld ecosystems is elevated by the invasion of alien Acacia species. A. cyclops is also reported to use high volumes of water, ranking highest in its water consumption among the top twenty-five invader plant species in South Africa (Anon., 2003), and Working for Water (2003) suggest that the loss of native plants to A. cyclops thickets leaves the soil bare and vulnerable to wind and water erosion.
Impact: BiodiversityTop of page In South Africa, A. cyclops invades the lowland fynbos of Cape Province and is also established in mountain forest. It is beginning to invade southern forest, eastern Cape Forest and succulent karroo, the dense cover shading out native vegetation (Cronk and Fuller, 1995).
Social ImpactTop of page According to Azorin (1995), A. cyclops has become an important source of firewood, for subsistence use and to generate income for the economically disadvantaged in the southern Cape Peninsula, South Africa, thus having a very positive social impact.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- 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. cyclops is used for coastal sand dune stabilization as it is tolerant of wind, salt spray, sand blasts and soil salinity (NAS, 1980). It is planted as an ornamental in the Canary Islands, Spain (Siverio and Montesdeoca, 1990).
As the branches and trunk of A. cyclops never exceed 20 cm in diameter, using the logs for firewood is recommended (NAS, 1980; Duke, 1983; Yantasath et al., 1993), and it is a popular source of firewood in South Africa.
Fodder is the main non-wood use of A. cyclops. Goats and antelope browse the phyllodes in South Africa. Seed may be suitable for cattle feed after it is crushed (NAS, 1980). Studies by Milton (1981) showed that annual litter fall in the South African Cape, comprising 60% foliage and 30% reproductive structures, averaged 7 MT/ha, representing double the value of evergreen scrub communities in winter rainfall regions. Due to its high tannin content, the species could serve as an astringent (Duke, 1983).
Uses ListTop of page
Animal feed, fodder, forage
- Fodder/animal feed
- Erosion control or dune stabilization
- Essential oils
- Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
Wood ProductsTop of page
Prevention and ControlTop of page Weber (2003) states that A. cyclops may be controlled by cutting stems close to the ground. Combinations of clearing and burning stands are used to reduce the soil seed bank and the tree rarely resprouts after fire damage or felling. Working for Water (2003) state that seedlings and young plants may be pulled out by hand and that medium sized A. cyclops should be ring-barked or cut below the surface.
Biological control of A. cyclops using three Melantarius species is currently under investigation (Working for Water, 2003), and Impson et al. (2000) reported that adult and larval seed-feeding weevils Melanterius ?servulus destroyed up to 95% of A. cyclops seeds at release sites in Western Cape Province. Continued research into the effectiveness of M. ?servulus as a biocontrol agent is focusing on weevil dispersal, interference by birds, a native alydid bug and rodents, and asynchrony in the phenologies of the weevils and A. cyclops (Impson et al., 2000).
ReferencesTop of page
Anon, 2003. How much water do alien plants use in South Africa? Gateway to Knowledge on Alien Invasive Plants. South Africa: Water Research Commission. http://aliens.csir.co.za/plants/global/continen/africa/safrica/bigpic/howmuchw/.
Ansari RA; Khanzada N; Khan MA, 1993. Acacias for Rural, Industrial, and Environmental Development in Pakistan. In: Awang K, Taylor DA, eds. Acacias for Rural, Industrial, and Environmental Development. Bangkok, Thailand: Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Research and FAO (United Nations), 63-70.
Azorin E, 1995. Invasive Acacias and the firewood industry. Aliens, September 1997, 9-10.
Binggeli P, 1999. Invasive woody plants. http://members.lycos.co.uk/WoodyPlantEcology/invasive/index.html.
Bootha AT; Visser JH; Moore LD, 1989. Evaluation of possible fluoride injury to vegetation in the vicinity of an industrial site near Cape Town. South African Journal of Science, 85(11):741-745.
Cossalter C, 1986. Introducing Australian Acacias in Dry Tropical Africa. In: Turnbull JW, ed. Australian Acacias in Developing Countries. ACIAR Proceedings, 16:118-123.
Duke JA, 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. Unpublished. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA: Centre for New Crops and Plant Products. World Wide Web page at http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/Indices/index_ab.html.
El-Lakany MH, 1986. Use of Australian Acacias in North Africa. In: Turnbull JW, ed. Australian Acacias in Developing Countries. ACIAR Proceedings, 16:116-117.
George AS, 1981. Flora of Australia. Volume 1: Introduction. Canberra, Australia: Australian Government Publishing Service.
Government of South Africa, 1983. Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, 1983. Act No. 43 of 1983. Pretoria, South Africa: Department of Agriculture. http://www.nda.agric.za/docs/Act43/Table%203%20prom080301.htm.
Hall N; Johnson LAS, 1993. The names of Acacias of New South Wales with a guide to pronunciation of botanical names. Royal Botanic Gardens: Sydney.
Harden GJ, 1991. Flora of New South Wales. Volume 2: New South Wales, Australia: New South Wales University Press.
Henderson L, 2001. Alien Weeds and Invasive Plants. Plant Protection Research Institute Handbook No. 12. Cape Town, South Africa: Paarl Printers.
Higgins SI; Richardson DM; Cowling RM; Trinder-Smith TH, 1999. Predicting the landscape-scale distribution of alien plants and their threat to plant diversity. Conservation Biology, 13(2):303-313.
Holmes PM; Dennill GB; Moll EJ, 1987. Effects of feeding by native alydid insects on the seed viability of an alien invasive weed, Acacia cyclops.. South African Journal of Science, 83(10):580-581; 21 ref.
Houerou HN le, 1980. Browse in northern Africa. In: Houerou HN le, ed. Browse in Africa: The Current State of Knowledge. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: International Livestock Centre for Africa, 55-82.
ILDIS, 2002. International Legume Database and Information Service. University of Southampton, UK. http://www.ildis.org/database/.
Impson FAC; Moran VC; Hoffmann JH; Donnelly D; Stewart K, 2000. Recent developments in the biological control of invasive Acacias in South Africa: Melanterius ?servulus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) against Acacia cyclops. In: Spencer NR, ed. Proceedings of the X International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds, 4-14 July 1999, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA, 729-734.
Jaensch RP; Vervest RM; Hewish MJ, 1988. Waterbids in nature reserves of South-Western Australia, 1981-1985: reserve accounts. Royal Australian Ornithologists Union Report, 30:1-290.
Laurence GHM, 1955. Taxonomy of Vascular Plants. New York, USA: The MacMillan Company.
Lister PR; Holford P; Haigh T; Morrison DA, 1996. Acacia in Australia: ethnobotany and potential food crop. Progress in new crops: Proceedings of the Third National Symposium, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, 22-25 October, 1996., 228-236; 28 ref.
Marcar NE; Hussain RW; Arunin S; Beetson T, 1991. Trials with Australian and other Acacia species on salt-affected land in Pakistan, Thailand and Australia. In: Turnbull JW, ed. Advances in tropical acacia research. Proceedings of an international workshop held in Bangkok, Thailand, 11-15 February 1991. ACIAR-Proceedings-Series, No. 35:229-232; 3 ref.
Milton SJ, 1981. Litterfall of the exotic acacias in the Southeastern cape. Journal of South African Botany, 47(2):147-155.
Pedley L, 1987. Generic Status of Acacia sensu lato. Australian Systematic Botany Society Newsletter, 53, 87-91.
Siverio A; Montesdeoca M, 1990. Presence in Tenerife of a new pest, Psylla uncatoides Ferris et Kyver, on Acacia ciclops Link. 'Acacia majorera' and other ornamentals. Boletin de Sanidad Vegetal, Plagas, 16(1):19-23
USDA-NRCS, 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, USA. http://plants.usda.gov.
Working for Water, 2003. Working for Water Programme. South Africa: Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. http://www-dwaf.pwv.gov.za/wfw/.
Yantasath K; Anusontpornperm S; Utistham T; Soontornrangson W; Watanatham S, 1993. Acacias for fuelwood and charcoal In: Awang K, Taylor DA, eds. Acacias for Rural, Industrial and Environmental Development. Proceedings of the Second meeting of Consultative Group for Research and Development of Acacias (COGREDA). Udorn Thani, Thailand: Winrock International and FAO, 144-152.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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