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Record Number


PROSEA Handbook Number

5(2): Timber trees; Minor commercial timbers


Acacia mearnsii De Wild.

This article should be read together with the article on the genus: Acacia in the Handbook volume indicated above in this database.


Pl. bequaert. 3: 61 (1925).


Acacia decurrens (Wendl.) Willd. var. mollis Lindl. (1819).

Vernacular Names

Black wattle, late black wattle, tan wattle (En). Acacie noir (Fr). Indonesia: akasia (general).


Native to south-eastern Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania), but introduced throughout the tropics and often naturalizing. Commercial plantations have been established in montane areas of Java, on Madura, in southern Sulawesi, around Lake Toba on Sumatra and on Bali. Smaller plantations are found in Peninsular Malaysia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.


The wood is used as wattle, e.g. for local construction, mine props, wooden tools, joinery, flooring and hardboard. It is also used for rayon and paper pulp. More important is the production of tannin from the bark used for tanning heavy leather. It is one of the principal sources of the world's tanbark of superior quality. The powdered bark extract is also used to prepare adhesives for plywood, particle board and laminated timber. The wood is commonly used as fuel for domestic purposes, small industries, and for charcoal production. Trees have also been planted for erosion control, soil improvement, in shelterbelts or as fire-breaks, as shade trees in tea plantations and as ornamentals. The leaves may be used as a fodder, but are best mixed with other feeds.


A small to medium-sized tree up to 25 m tall, bole straight, up to 60 cm in diameter, bark surface longitudinally fissured, brownish-black, smooth and grey-brown in young trees, inner bark straw-coloured, branchlets angular, unarmed; leaves bipinnate with (8—)12—21 pairs of pinnae each with 16—70 pairs of leaflets, rachis glandular above; flowers in pedunculate glomerules arranged in axillary racemes or panicles, 5-merous; pod usually moniliform with 3—12 joints, flat, 3—10 cm 0.5—0.8 cm. Acasia mearnsii occurs naturally in the understorey of tall open forest or scrub vegetation, at 0—200(—900) m altitude. Plantations in the tropics are generally at higher elevation (1000—2500 m). The density of the wood is 550—850 kg/m3 at 15% moisture content.

Selected Sources

[155]Evans, J., 1982. Plantation forestry in the tropics. Clarendon Press, Oxford. 472 pp.
[162]Flora Malesiana (various editors), 1950–. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Boston, London.
[369]Lemmens, R.H.M.J. & Wulijarni-Soetjipto, N. (Editors), 1991. Plant resources of South-East Asia No 3. Dye and tannin-producing plants. Pudoc, Wageningen. 195 pp.
[474]Oey Djoen Seng, 1951. Perbandingan berat dari jenis-jenis kaju Indonesia dan pengartian beratnja kaju untuk keperluan praktek [Specific gravity of Indonesian woods and its significance for practical use]. Laporan No 46. Balai Penjelidikan Kehutanan, Bogor. 183 pp.
[560]Sherry, S.P., 1971. The black wattle (Acacia mearnsii De Wild.). University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg. xix + 402 pp.
[649]Turnbull, J.W., 1986. Multipurpose Australian trees and shrubs. Lesser known species for fuelwood and agroforestry. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra. 316 pp.
[650]Turnbull, J.W. (Editor), 1987. Australian acacias in developing countries. Proceedings of an international workshop held at the Forestry Training Centre, Gympie, Queensland, Australia, 4–7 August 1986. ACIAR Proceedings No 16. 196 pp.
[672]Verdcourt, B., 1979. A manual of New Guinea legumes. Botany Bulletin No 11. Office of Forests, Division of Botany, Lae. 645 pp.
[687]Webb, D.B, Wood, P.J. & Smith, J.P., 1984. A guide to species selection for tropical and sub-tropical plantations. 2nd edition. Tropical Forestry Papers No 15. University of Oxford. 256 pp.


F. Arentz

Correct Citation of this Article

Arentz, F., 1995. Acacia mearnsii De Wild.. In: Lemmens, R.H.M.J., Soerianegara, I. and Wong, W.C. (Editors): Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 5(2): Timber trees; Minor commercial timbers. PROSEA Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia. Database record:

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