Herb: Mulga Acacia


Latin name: Acacia aneura


Family: Leguminosae



Edible parts of Mulga Acacia:

Flowers - cooked. Rich in pollen, they are often used in fritters. The bark exudes an edible gum. Some species produce a gum that is dark and is liable to be astringent and distasteful, but others produce a light gum and this is sweet and pleasant. It can be sucked like candy or soaked in water to make a jelly. The gum can be warmed when it becomes soft and chewable. Seed - cooked. It is dried, ground into a flour and used with cereals in making cakes etc. Acacia seeds are highly nutritious and contain approx 26% protein, 26% available carbohydrate, 32% fibre and 9% fat. The fat content is higher than most legumes with the aril providing the bulk of fatty acids present. These fatty acids are largely unsaturated which is a distinct health advantage although it presents storage problems as such fats readily oxidise. The mean total carbohydrate content of 55.8 + 13.7% is lower than that of lentils, but higher than that of soybeans while the mean fibre content of 32.3 + 14.3% is higher than that of other legumes such as lentils with a level of 11.7%. The energy content is high in all species tested, averaging 1480+270 kJ per 100g. Wattle seeds are low glycaemic index foods. The starch is digested and absorbed very slowly, producing a small, but sustained rise in blood glucose and so delaying the onset of exhaustion in prolonged exercise. A sweet red or white "lerp" that forms on the leaves and branches is eaten. Lerp is a protective shield secreted from the anus of sap-sucking insects. The taste is sweet and it was used as a staple food by the Aborigines in some areas of Australia. It is not clear if the lerp is eaten when the insects are still present or if it can be eaten after they have gone. A large succulent gall, known as "mulga apple" is produced by the tree and is said to quench the thirst.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Tree

Height:
15 m
(49 feet)

Flovering:
March
to July

Habitat of the herb:

Arid areas in all mainland states except Victoria.

Other uses of Mulga Acacia:

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A green dye is obtained from the seed pods. The extensive root system of this plant helps to prevent soil erosion. The twigs are used to make a dishmop. Wood - turns well, takes a high polish. It is used extensively for ornaments and fencing.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a sunny position in a warm greenhouse. Stored seed should be scarified, pre-soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then sown in a warm greenhouse in March. The seed germinates in 3 - 4 weeks at 25C. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in a sunny position in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and consider giving them some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in individual pots in a frame. Overwinter in a greenhouse for the first winter and plant out in their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Fair percentage.

Cultivation of Mulga Acacia:

Arid areas in all mainland states except Victoria.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Acacia aneura:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.