Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Acacia longifolia
(golden wattle)

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Datasheet

Acacia longifolia (golden wattle)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 03 June 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Acacia longifolia
  • Preferred Common Name
  • golden wattle
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • A. longifolia is a shrub or small tree native to Australia that has been deliberately introduced in various countries, mainly for dune stabilization and soil improvement (...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
A. longifolia, in natural habitat, Australia, showing tree form.
TitleTree habit
CaptionA. longifolia, in natural habitat, Australia, showing tree form.
Copyright©Maurice W. McDonald/CSIRO Forestry & Forest Products
A. longifolia, in natural habitat, Australia, showing tree form.
Tree habitA. longifolia, in natural habitat, Australia, showing tree form.©Maurice W. McDonald/CSIRO Forestry & Forest Products
A. longifolia, in natural habitat, Australia.
TitleTree habit
CaptionA. longifolia, in natural habitat, Australia.
Copyright©Maurice W. McDonald/CSIRO Forestry & Forest Products
A. longifolia, in natural habitat, Australia.
Tree habitA. longifolia, in natural habitat, Australia.©Maurice W. McDonald/CSIRO Forestry & Forest Products

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Acacia longifolia (Andrews) Willd.

Preferred Common Name

  • golden wattle

Variety

  • Acacia longifolia var. sophorae (Labill.) F. Muell.

Other Scientific Names

  • Acacia intertexta DC.
  • Acacia longifolia ssp. longifolia
  • Acacia longifolia ssp. sophorae (Labill.) Court
  • Acacia longifolia var. latifolia Sweet
  • Acacia longifolia var. typica Benth.
  • Acacia sophorae (Labill.) R. Br.
  • Mimosa longifolia Andrews
  • Mimosa macrostachya Poir.
  • Mimosa sophorae Labill.
  • Phyllodoce longifolia (Andrews) Link
  • Racosperma longifolium (Andrews) C.Mart
  • Racosperma longifolium (Andrews) Pedley
  • Racosperma longifolium (Labill.) C. Martius
  • Racosperma sophorae (Labill.) Benth.

International Common Names

  • English: coast wattle; coastal wattle; long-leaved wattle; Sydney acacia; Sydney golden wattle
  • French: acacia à longues feuilles; mimosa chenille

Local Common Names

  • Argentina: acacia trinervis; aroma doble
  • Australia: coastal wattle; golden rods; long-leaved acacia; sallow wattle; Sidney golden wattle; swallow acacia; Sydney golden wattle; white sallow
  • Brazil: acácia de Austrália; mimosa de flores amarelas
  • Germany: Akazie, Kätzchen-; Akazie, Langblättrige
  • Italy: gaggia a foglie lunghe; mimosa a foglie lunghe
  • Portugal: acácia-de-espigas; acácia-de-folhas-longas
  • South Africa: langblaarwattel; long-leaved wattle
  • USA: sidney golden wattle

EPPO code

  • ACALO (Acacia longifolia)

Summary of Invasiveness

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A. longifolia is a shrub or small tree native to Australia that has been deliberately introduced in various countries, mainly for dune stabilization and soil improvement (Dennill and Donnelly, 1991; Marchante et al., 2008; Stellatelli et al., 2014). It is recognized as an aggressive invasive weed in parts of its native range in Australia, and in some of the countries where it has been introduced; such as in South Africa, Spain and Portugal. Although is reported by PIER (2015) as invasive in California, USA, and was stated by Whibley and Symon (1992) as having established naturalized populations, it is reported as uncommon by Baldwin et al. (2012) and it is not listed in the California Invasive Plant Inventory (California Invasive Plant Council, 2016). It has a prolific seed production, and fast growth, facilitating its spread in suitable habitats (Rodríguez-Echevarria, 2010; Marchante et al., 2011). A. longifolia is associated with invasion events in New Zealand (Haysom and Murphy, 2003), and is recorded as invasive in Brazil (Instituto Horus, 2011).

A. longifolia affects the biodiversity and ecosystems by altering the microbial communities and by its high resource utilization, outcompeting native species (Marchante et al., 2008; Werner et al., 2010). It is included in the IUCN Global Invasive Species Database (GISD, 2015) and is reported as being costly to eradicate (EFSA Panel on Plant Health, 2015). 

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 longifolia

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Acacia was described by Philip Miller in 1794 and has a complex nomenclatural and classification history. It now has up to 1350 species. Maslin et al. (2003b) provide a detailed account of the history of the nomenclature and classification of the genus. The traditional concept of Acacia was discovered to be polyphyletic which prompted proposals to reclassify the genus (Pedley 1986, Maslin et al., 2003a; Kyalangalilwa et al., 2013). Orchard and Maslin (2003) proposed the retypification of the genus from Acacia scorpioides (L.) W.F. Wright (=A. nilotica (L.) Willd. ex Del), a species distributed from Africa to India, to A. penninervis Sieb. ex DB, an Australian species. This proposal recognized that the majority of the species belonging to the genus Acacia occur in Australia and was adopted in the 2005 International Botanical Congress Nomenclature Session. It was ratified in the 2011 International Botanical Congress, but not without plenty of debate (McNeill and Turland, 2011; Smith and Figueiredo, 2011; Thiele et al., 2011).

Molecular evidence supports the polyphyletic nature of the group, recognizing five lineages: Acacia, Acaciella, Mariosousa, Senegalia and Vachellia (Maslin et al., 2003a, Kyalangalilwa et al., 2013). Acceptance of the new nomenclature has been either slow or inconsistent. For example, the Missouri Botanical Garden (2015), The Plant List (2013) and ILDIS (2015) either had not adopted the changes or only partially so.

Two subspecies are recognized within Acacia longifolia, although some authors treat them as distinct species: A. longifolia and A. sophorae (Flora of Australia, 2015). Biochemical and morphological evidence, presented by Murray et al. (1978) and Pedley (1978), suggested that var. longifolia and var. sophorae should be treated as distinct species. However, this view has not been adopted in a number of more recent works, notably Whibley and Symon (1992) and Tame (1992).  

Description

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The following information is provided by the Flora of Australia (2015):

Shrub or erect tree, 1.5–10 m high, 1–25 m wide, spreading. Stipules deltate, less than 1 mm long or obscure. Phyllodes linear to elliptic, 5–25 cm long, 10–35 mm wide, acute or rounded-obtuse, sometimes abruptly contracted at apex into mucro, with 2–4 prominent primary nerves; secondary nerves frequently anastomosing, prominent; gland basal or nearly so; pulvinus present. Inflorescences usually without peduncles. Spikes solitary or twinned, 2–5 cm long; peduncles mostly absent; bracteoles caducous, cucullate, 0.3–0.5 mm long, with ciliate margins. Flowers 4-merous; sepals united. Pods cylindrical or subcylindrical, sometimes moniliform, 5–15 cm long, 4–10 mm wide, commonly firmly coriaceous. Seeds elliptic, sometimes irregularly shaped, 4–6 mm long, shiny; funicle folded several times into a thickened lateral skirt-like aril. 

Distinguished by its phyllodes with prominent anastomosing nerves, smooth margins, conspicuous basal gland and commonly lemon-yellow spicate inflorescence.

The two varieties or subspecies have a number of morphological differences. Variety longifolia occurs as a tall shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall, usually with relatively thin, linear-lanceolate phyllodes 6-15 cm long and 3-15 mm wide. Its pods are more or less straight and 3-6 mm wide. Variety sophorae is a low spreading, prostrate shrub, 2-5 m and up to 15 m wide, with relatively thick, obovate oblong or oblong elliptic phyllodes, 5-10 cm long and 12-35 mm wide. Pods mostly coiled or contorted.

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

ChinaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2015
-Hong KongPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2015
IndiaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2015
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
-AssamPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2015
IndonesiaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPIER, 2015
-Irian JayaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
-JavaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPROTA, 2015
-MoluccasPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
-SulawesiPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
-SumatraPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
IsraelAbsent, invalid recordHaysom and Murphy, 2003; PIER, 2015; Danin and Fragman- Sapir, 2019Acacia longifolia has been mistakenly reported as present in Israel due to the misidentification of Acacia salicina
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2015
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
TurkeyPresentIntroducedAkanil and Middleton, 1997Porsuk River, Eskisehir

Africa

KenyaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
MauritiusPresentIntroducedPIER, 2015
RéunionPresentIntroducedPIER, 2015
South AfricaPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted Dennill and Donnelly, 1991; Haysom and Murphy, 2003
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2015
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedPROTA, 2015

North America

MexicoPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-CaliforniaPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Not invasive Baldwin et al., 2012; PROTA, 2015Cited as uncommon, from San Francisco Bay down the coast to Mexico
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015

Central America and Caribbean

Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
HondurasPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroduced1940s Invasive Stellatelli et al., 2014At the sandy coast of Buenos Aires; introduced to stabilize the dunes and to improve the landscape of resorts
BoliviaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015Cochabamba
BrazilPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted Instituto Horus, 2011
-Rio de JaneiroPresentIntroduced1874Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
-Santa CatarinaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
-Sao PauloPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015Cultivated at Botanic Garden, reported in 1936.
ColombiaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2015At Cundinamarca
EcuadorPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015Quito
UruguayPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015Canelones, Maldonado, Rocha

Europe

FrancePresent Planted EFSA Panel on Plant Health, 2015
GermanyPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedEFSA Panel on Plant Health, 2015Sold by nurseries
GreecePresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedEFSA Panel on Plant Health, 2015Sold by nurseries
IrelandPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedEFSA Panel on Plant Health, 2015Sold by nurseries
ItalyPresentIntroducedEFSA Panel on Plant Health, 2015Offered by nurseries; Introduced at Liguria, Campania, Sardinia; naturalized
-SardiniaPresentIntroducedEFSA Panel on Plant Health, 2015
PortugalWidespreadIntroduced Invasive EFSA Panel on Plant Health, 2015Mainland Portugal (Trás-osMontes, Minho, Douro Litoral, Beira Litoral, Estremadura, Ribatejo, Alto Alentejo, Baixo Alentejo, Algarve), Azores archipelago (Santa María Island), Madeira archipelago (islands of Madeira and Porto Santo)
-AzoresPresentIntroducedEFSA Panel on Plant Health, 2015Santa María Island
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedEFSA Panel on Plant Health, 2015Islands of Madeira and Porto Santo
SpainWidespreadIntroduced Invasive EFSA Panel on Plant Health, 2015“Dangerous invasive behavior”; Ponteverda, Gerona (Blanes, Figueras), Alicante (Guardamar del Segura), Galicia. Up to 100 m altitude; Baleares. Also cultivated
-Balearic IslandsPresentIntroducedEFSA Panel on Plant Health, 2015
UKPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedPROTA, 2015Reported as a garden plant and to be able to grown in Cornwall

Oceania

AustraliaPresentNativeCarvalho et al., 2010Native to coastal dune systems from southeastern Australia
-New South WalesPresentNativeWeeds of Australia, 2015eastern New South Wales
-QueenslandPresent Natural PIER, 2015
-South AustraliaPresentNativeBirnbaum et al., 2012
-TasmaniaPresent Natural PROTA, 2015
-VictoriaPresentPlanted, NaturalBirnbaum et al., 2012
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive Birnbaum et al., 2012
New ZealandPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted Haysom and Murphy, 2003; PIER, 2015

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Argentina 1940s Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes Stellatelli et al. (2014)
South Africa Australia 1827 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes Dennill and Donnelly (1991) Invasive

Risk of Introduction

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Although there is substantial documented information about its spread and damage to ecosystems and biodiversity (Marchante et al., 2008; Werner et al., 2010) and being included in invasive lists, A. longifolia is still sold by nurseries and Internet sites as a desirable ornamental to be used on slopes, for screens and as a windbreak. It is advertised as being low maintenance, highly adaptable and fast growing. It can escape from cultivation and get established in suitable areas, from where it could spread because of its prolific seed production and rapid growth.

Habitat

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A. longifolia preferred habitats are full sunny, sandy coasts and dunes. Can be found also in woodlands, riparian zones, scrubs and grasslands (PROTA, 2015). In areas where it has become naturalised in Australia, it grows on roadsides, along watercourses, in swamps and in native bushland (Weeds of Australia, 2015). The species will do well in humid or warm humid temperate climate, extending into the Mediterranean climate. It is frost resistant down to -6°C and drought resistant, but needs at least 550 mm of rainfall (Werner et al., 2010). Will tolerate strong winds, but not maritime exposure. Grows best on well drained sandy soils and can grow in nutrient poor soils, as it able to fix nitrogen (PROTA, 2015). Will do well in fire prone areas, as fire will induce germination (Marchante et al, 2010). Seeds can handle high salinity, which contributes to its invasive ability in sand dunes (Morais et al., 2012a, b).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Littoral
Coastal areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Principal habitat Natural
Coastal dunes Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal dunes Principal habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for this species is 2n=26 (PROTA, 2015). A. longifolia does not show high phenotypic plasticity (Peperkorn et al., 2005).

Reproductive Biology

A. longifolia produces spicate flower heads with a violet-like scent. Each flower has many anthers. As other Australian acacias, it is pollinated by a wide variety of generalist insects, frequently locally native bees. Apis mellifera is reported as one of the pollinators. Although A. longifolia is an outcrosser, and it has a low ability to self-pollinate; in the absence of pollen vectors some self-fertilization will occur (Correia et al., 2014). A. longifolia is a polycarpic species, producing seeds annually throughout its life. The seeds are elliptic; 4-6 × 2-2.5 mm, shiny, and 20-30 mg. Seed viability is high (about 90%). Average 1000 seed weight: 16.81 g; protein content of 13.02% (PROTA, 2015). Germination tests results show 12% germination following 50 years of open storage at room temperature (PROTA, 2015).

Physiology and Phenology

A. longifolia is an evergreen tree growing to 9 m at a medium rate. The bark contains 15% tannins. It can resprout from the base. For the flower and fruit production the following is reported by PROTA (2015): Flowering in Australia: July-November. Flowering in South Africa: June-September. Fruiting in Australia: Summer. Fruiting in South Africa: November-December. In California, flowering occurs from January to April (Baldwin et al., 2012).

Associations

The species is capable of nodulating profusely, which aids the spread on poor soils (Rodríguez-Echeverría et al., 2009). In Portugal, Rodríguez-Echeverría et al. (2007) report that A. longifolia associates with the root-nodule bacteria Bradyrhizobium sp., which is believed to have been introduced from Australia with the acacia.

Environmental Requirements

A. longifolia prefers well-drained, light sandy loams and can grow in nutritional poor soils. Soils can be acid, neutral or basic (alkaline) and the plant will tolerate saline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. The species can resist strong winds but not maritime exposure. Mean annual temperature range is 10 to 19°C, although can live in areas up to 25°C. It is hardy down to -6°C (PROTA, 2015). It is tolerant to dry periods, frost and sea spray, but generally needs at least 550 mm annual rainfall to propagate (GISD, 2015).

Most of the seeds have an innate dormancy and need stimulation to induce germination, usually by fire (Dennil et al, 1993; Marchante et al., 2010). Heat increases germination of the A. longifolia seeds, which can sustain a maximum temperature up to 160° C for more than 20 min (Behenna et al., 2008).
 

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
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 Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
BW - Desert climate Tolerated < 430mm annual precipitation
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred 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)
50 46 0 1100

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -6
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 10 25
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 21 31
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 3 6

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration08number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall4501400mm; lower/upper limits

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Calonectria morganii Pathogen
Melanterius ventralis Herbivore Seeds to species South Africa
Trichilogaster acaciaelongifoliae Parasite to species South Africa

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

A. longifolia produces a large number of seeds that are dispersed by water and soil (Wilgen et al., 2004). A single plant can produce up to 11,500 seeds per year (GISD, 2015). Dispersion can also occur via gravity, resulting in large soil stored seed banks under the dense canopies with little long-distance seed movement (Marchante et al., 2010).

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

Seeds are reported to be dispersed by birds and ants (Marchante et al., 2010; Invasive Plants in Portugal, 2015). Pieterse and Cairns (1990) studied the A. longifolia seed removal by animals in South Africa. They found 91.07% of seed removal on trays after one week of exposure. Seeds have a small elaiosome that attracts ants. Ants removed 57.22% of the seed while rodents and birds removed 33.85% of the seed.

Intentional Introduction

Reported to be intentionally introduced in various countries, such as Argentina, Portugal, South Africa and the USA for landscaping, soil improvement, and soil and dune stabilization (Dennill and Donnelly, 1991; Marchante et al., 2008; Alberio and Compatore; 2014; Stellatelli et al.; 2014). It is cultivated in Indonesia, New Caledonia and various countries in Europe, where it is sold in nurseries (EFSA Panel on Plant Health, 2015; PIER, 2015).

Impact Summary

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

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

A. longifolia reduces water resources by increasing evapotranspiration (Wilgen et al., 2004). Rascher et al. (2011a) report that the species contributes 42% of the evapotranspiration in pine forests, impacting the hydrological and carbon cycles of the forest.

The above-ground dominance of A. longifolia also exists below ground with the nodule forming bacteria Bradyrhizobia, which disrupts the native legume–rhizobia symbiosis (Rodríguez-Echeverría, 2010). Studies by Marchante et al. (2008) on the Sao Jacinto Dunes Nature Reserve of Portugal, suggest that A. longifolia affects the diversity of microbial community of the dunes, also affecting the nutrient cycling.

The invasive success of A. longifolia in the coastal areas of Portugal is reported to be due to its high resource utilization of both water and nutrients, consequently disrupting the interactions of the existing native species (Werner et al., 2010). Rodríguez-Echevarria (2010) also report that unmanaged plants will invaded nearby areas, advancing by approximately 1 m every 2-3 years, representing a threat to non-invaded areas.

Impact on Biodiversity

A. longifolia has a detrimental impact on two lizards’ populations in Argentina: Liolaemus wiegmannii and L. multimaculatus (a threatened species), as the acacia dense coverage lowers the soil temperature, which is not favourable for these two species (Stellatelli et al., 2014). In South Africa, Samways and Taylor (2004) report that A. longifolia is a principal threat to globally red-listed dragonflies (Odonata) in the southwest of the country, due to the dense canopy shading out the dragonflies habitat and suppressing grasses and bushes which are perching and oviposition sites for the threatened species.

A. longifolia has significantly altered the vegetation structures of open dunes and pine forests in Portugal (Rascher et al., 2011b). In this country, the species has filled the small tree/large shrub niche. The species produces an increase in plant cover, decreasing light available to understory plants, thus decreasing plant diversity and inhibiting the regeneration of native species. Because of its high usage of water resources, A. longifolia increases the drought vulnerability on the colonized sites, negatively impacting the native flora (Marchante et al., 2009). Alberio and Compatore (2014) found similar results for the coastal dunes in the Buenos Aires Province of Argentina, where A. longifolia has a significant negative impact on the habitat, reducing the coverage, richness and diversity of the native flora. A. longifolia is considered to be a transformer invasive species, converting diverse native areas into species-poor vegetation, altering their biotic and abiotic components in Argentina.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Ceratogomphus triceraticus (Cape thorntail)VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable)South AfricaSamways and Taylor, 2004
Ecchlorolestes peringueyi (marbled malachite)VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable)South AfricaSamways and Taylor, 2004
Orthetrum rubens (elusive skimmer)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered)South AfricaSamways and Taylor, 2004
Syncordulia gracilis (yellow presba)VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable)South AfricaSamways and Taylor, 2004
Syncordulia venator (mahogany presba)VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable)South AfricaSamways and Taylor, 2004

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Increases vulnerability to invasions
  • Modification of hydrology
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • 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/costly to control

Uses

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In California, A. longifolia is reported to be an important landscape plant and also to have economic potential as a host and refuge for beneficial insects (Dreistadt and Hagen, 1994). Brito et al. (2015) suggest using A. longifolia and A. melanoxylon as an alternative low cost compost option to replace pine bark, mixing it with other components such as peat moss.

The following uses for A. longifolia are reported by PROTA (2015): Yellow and green dyes; preventing soil erosion; screens and hedges; rootstock for grafting lime-intolerant members of the genus; soil improvement; fast-growing cover crop; green manure; gums; tanning; ornamental. PROTA also gives information on food uses: Flowers, seeds and seedpods are edible. Flowers are often used in fritters. Seed are starchy and consumed roasted. Acacia seeds contain approximately 26% protein, 26% available carbohydrate, 32% fibre and 9% fat. Seeds have low glycemic index. The starch is digested and absorbed very slowly, producing a small, but sustained rise in blood glucose. 

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Acacia ?oribunda, A. longissima, A. maidenii and A. mucronata are the closest relatives of A. longifolia, all having a curved phyllode apex that is acute to mucronate. Acacia oxycedrus is said to hybridize with several species including A. longifolia, A. ?oribunda and A. mucronata subsp. longifolia. (Brown et al., 2010). A. longifolia is similar to A. obtusifolia, but lacks resinous margins on the phyllodes and usually flowers during spring (Flora of Australia, 2015). 

Prevention and Control

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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.

Public Awareness

A. longifolia is one of the plants featured in the Invasive Plants of Portugal (2015) internet site. The site provides information about invasive species in Portugal and has a downloadable sighting application, sighting maps to help locate the species and information on how to control them. It is also featured at the Invasive Species South Africa (2016), with existing legislation for its control and erradication and citing proposed alternative species for the people to plant instead.

Eradication

Marchante et al. (2011) discuss how the eradication of A. longifolia in the Portuguese dune ecosystems is an unrealistic goal, because the invasions are extensive, persistent, and produce substantial seedbanks. The levels of seed production measured by Marchante et al. (2010) are high despite major losses before and after entering the seed bank. These seeds can germinate in large numbers after removal of the canopy, repopulating the cleared areas and impeding the recovery of ecosystems. Marchante et al. (2009) suggest  prioritizing the control of recently invaded sites, as the recovery of both natural vegetation and soil is more likely. Marchante et al. (2010) also propose containment as the strategy for older thickets, removing plants in the surrounding areas, where new invasions occur. Targeting these areas is more manageable, which should reduce the abundance of the invader and restore some of the ecosystem.

Control

Physical/mechanical control

The following is recommended by Marchante et al. (2011) for the control of A. longifolia: to prioritize the removal of the species on recently invaded areas, also removing the thick litter layers to promote an increase in plant species richness and cover, and a decrease in susceptibility to reinvasion. Further management actions to supplement clearing operations are needed, such as propagation of native species and/or controlled fires to deplete the invasive species seed bank.

Biological control

In Australia, bitou bush litter (Chrysanthemoides monilifera, Asteraceae), introduced from South Africa, has been reported to negatively impact the distribution of A. longifolia, by affecting the seed production and germination and displacing the species from the fore- and mid-dunes. Although not used as a biocontrol method, more research should be made on the possible biocontrol use of this species (Weiss and Noble, 1984; Ens et al., 2009).

Dennill and Donnelly (1991) report two insects used as biological controls for A. longifolia in South Africa: Trichilogaster acaciaelongifoliae, a wasp which which produces galls that prevent the development of the inflorescences and suppress the vegetative growth, and Melanterius ventralis, a weevil which feeds on the seeds. Donnelly and Hoffmann (2004) report that M. ventralis complements the use of the Trichilogaster by destroying the seeds that are produced on the few inflorescences not affected by the insects. The Trichilogaster wasps are reported to have spread to plantations of the commercially important tree species A. melanoxylon (Dennill et al., 1993), but a review by Hill (2005) reports later studies suggesting that effects were negligible and temporary, and that no other non-target attacks have been reported in the field in South Africa.

Trichilogaster acaciaelongifoliae is being considered by the European Food Safety Authority for its introduction in Europe for the control of A. longifolia (EFSA Panel on Plant Health, 2015). They conclude that the insect could be introduced into the affected areas without having a major negative impact on other species. Hill (2005) discusses the potential for use of T. acaciaelongifoliae and M. ventralis for control of A. longifolia in New Zealand.

Chemical control

Herbicide treatment is suggested to supplement mechanical/hand removal of the species (PIER, 2015).

Ecosystem Restoration

Marchante et al. (2008, 2011) recommend the manual removal of A. longifolia on recently invaded areas, although recognizing that manually removing the invader is not sufficient to restore the ecosystem. Additional strategies are also required, which include: planting native species, removing the litter and depleting the invasive seed bank. Transplanting saplings of native species is suggested for the height advantage over the invasive seedlings. Rodríguez-Echeverría et al. (2015) suggest for Portugal the use of the two native coastal dunes legumes Cytisus grandiflorus and Ulex europaeus ssp. latebracteatus as good options for revegetation of areas where A. longifolia is removed. Galatowitsch and Richardson (2005) recommend for riparian areas to replant selected indigenous species to catalyze the recovery, stabilize the sites and close the canopies.

References

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Australian Plant Censushttps://biodiversity.org.au/nsl/services/apc
Flora of Australia Onlinehttp://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/online-resources/flora/redirect.jsp
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global Invasive Species Databasehttp://www.issg.org/database/welcome
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
International Legume Database and Information Servicehttp://www.ildis.org/
Invasive plants in Portugalhttp://invasoras.pt/en/
Invasive Species South Africahttp://www.invasives.org.za/
Plant Resources of Tropical Africahttp://www.prota.org/
World Wide Wattlewww.worldwidewattle.com

Contributors

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09/04/2016 Original text by:

Jeanine Vélez-Gavilán, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez

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