Acacia polyacantha

Botanical Name: Acacia Polycantha Willd.

Synonym:                     Acacia campylacantha Hochst. Ex A. Rich.

Common Name:       White Stem Acacia              

Plant Family:              Mimosoideae

Origin:                           Africa
References:                 Coates Palgrave p.294, Timberlake p.102-103, Dharani p.134-137. S.A. No. 180, Zimb. No. 219


Description: Medium to large deciduous tree with flaky, grey corky bark often with thorned bosses. Thorns small and hooked. Bipinnate leaves up to 20cm long with 20-60 pairs of fine (2-5mm) grey-green leaflets. Flower a 12cm creamy white spike appearing with new leaves. The fruit thin, straight, flat brown pod (8-18cm) and dehiscent (splitting).

Features of Particular Interest:  Tree shape and distinctive foliage.

Height and Spread:   10m – 20m high, 5m – 8m spread.

Periods of Interest: 

Leaf:  September to May.

Flowering: September to December.

Fruiting: March to June.

Bark:  All year round.


Soil and Moisture:  Acacia polyacantha occurs in a variety of soils. Plant in full sun or semi shade and water regularly. It is drought resistant.

Aspect: Grows well in exposed situations.

Hardiness: Hardy once established.

Maintenance and Pruning: Not required unless taking fire wood.

Propagation: Acacia polyacantha is relatively easy to germinate. The seed should be planted with a light sand/soil cover and watered regularly. Transplant into larger bags when several leaves have emerged.

Problems and Drawbacks: Roots not known to be intrusive, but it will lose its leaves and seed pods in winter, so do not plant near swimming pools.

Use and Associated Planting: Fast growing and is a useful quick fix. Consequently often used as a woodlot tree and to re-colonise bare ground. Also used a nursery tree for slower growing trees and can be removed when slower growers are established.