Facts About The Acacia Longifolia
Acacia Longifolia is a native of Australia and not yet particularly well known in the United States. A semi-tropical plant, it has been naturalized fairly extensively in California. Insofar as cultivating the plant in the United States is concerned, while information is available, it can be difficult at times to find. What we do know about it is that is a rapidly growing tree, reaching a maximum height in the neighborhood of 25' to 30'. In some locations where is grows, southern Europe for example, it is considered to be very invasive in its growth habits.
A Versatile Tree - Acacia Longifolia is widely cultivated in many areas however, particularly throughout much of Australia where, because of its substantial root system, it has proven useful in soil erosion prevention projects as well as stabilization of sand dunes. The violet-scented flowers, seeds, and seed pods are edible, with the yellow flowers often used in the production of yellow dyes and the seed pods forming a basis for production of green dyes. The tough acacia wood also has numerous uses.
The Acacia Longifolia is often used in landscaping schemes where, as an evergreen, it is grown as a shrub and used as a hedge, screen, or windbreak. It can cause problems to people having allergies however as it is an abundant producer of bright yellow pollen. Nevertheless, as a landscaping plant it enjoys widespread popularity in areas where it is grown commercially. The tree also goes by the names Golden Wattle, and Sydney Golden Wattle. It is one of 400 or so species of the acacia family, most of which are evergreen, abundant bloomers, and prized as ornamentals.
Distribution And Culture - The acacia can of course be grown in states other than California, California just happening to be the state where the tree is most abundant. It is hardy to USDA Zone 8, meaning that it can only be grown successfully in our southern tier of states. The tree grows best in somewhat sandy soil, or any well drained soil. The soil does not necessarily have to be nutritionally rich, and the plant can even tolerate a rather saline soil. Acacia Longifolia requires plenty of sun. It will not grow well in partial shade and not grow at all in shady areas. It is quite resistant to strong winds. Some references indicate that it grows well in maritime areas, others say the opposite, however the tree is known to grow in many coastal areas.
A member of the pea family, the acacia tree, including the Acacia Longifolia, fixes nitrogen in the soil as bacteria which have a symbiotic relationship with the plant form nodules on its roots, storing nitrogen in the soil, which in turn can benefit nearby plants as well as the tree itself. Growing Acacia Longifolia is not terribly difficult. The plant is usually grown from seed, and the seeds must be soaked and scored before planting to ensure germination. Most growers start the plant in a greenhouse environment, setting the seedlings out in the spring and returning them to the greenhouse the first winter. After that, the plant is placed in its permanent location. It can tolerate freezing temperatures if not of too long a duration. After a freeze, the top may die back. If the plant is cut back to the base it will usually re grow rapidly the following spring.
A Tree For All Uses - While the flowers are edible, it is the seeds which are the main providers of nutrients. The starch in the seeds is absorbed and digested very slowly, providing energy for an extended period of time, and the seeds rank with other legumes, including soybeans, in the level of nutrition provided. The seed pods are often roasted like nuts, then eaten. The Acacia Longifolia is a complex tree, a nuisance on the one hand (invasiveness), an ornamental on the other, and good eating as well.