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Wattle ( Acacia)

Acacia dealbata
Source: University of Newcastle [ 2 ]

The genus Acacia, of the Mimosaceae family, is comprised of around 800 different species of trees and shrubs. The Acacia genus is typically found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, especially Austalia and the Pacific (where up to 600 species are native) as well as Africa (where they are found on the southern and eastern plains).
Acacias are characterised by their small, finely divided leaflets, which give the leafstalk a feathery or fernlike (i.e., pinnate) appearance. Certain Australian and Pacific species lack these leaflets and thus the leafstalks (or petioles) are called upon to perform the normal functions of leaves. Acacia flowers are typically small, yellow and fragrant with many stamens, giving the flower a 'fuzzy' appearance. Economic values of the acacia species include gum arabic, used in adhesives, inks and drugs (from A. senegal ) as well as the tannin used in inks, dyes and drugs. Most acacia species contain tannin in their bark but the major sources are the babul tree in India ( A. arabica) and Australia wattles such as the golden wattle ( A. pycnantha ), the green wattle ( A. decurrens ) and the silver wattle ( A. dealbata ). Acacia species such as the Australian blackwood ( A. melanoxylon ) and yarran ( A. homalophylla ) as well as the Hawaiian A. koa are also important sources of timber. [ 1 ]


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[1] The Encyclopaedia Britannica Online : http://www.britannica.com
[2] The Geomorphology and Quaternary Science Research Unit, School of Geosciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, 2083, Australia : http://www.newcastle.edu.au/
 

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  http://www.hon.ch/Library/Theme/Allergy/Glossary/mimosaceae.html Last modified: Wed Oct 20 2004