Acacia melanoxylon: Australian Blackwood

Discover the Australian Blackwood, a native gem known for its rapid growth and attractive wood.

The Australian Blackwood, scientifically known as Acacia melanoxylon, is a member of the Fabaceae family. This family is quite large, boasting about 19,000 species worldwide.

The Australian Blackwood is particularly known for its fast growth and the high-quality wood it produces. These traits make it a popular choice for both timber production and as a feature tree in reserves and parks.

If you’re looking to add a native Australian plant to your garden that’s both functional and beautiful, this might just be the tree for you. However, it can grow very large, so consider the available space on your property.

Family and Subfamily: FabaceaeMimosoideae

The Fabaceae family, commonly referred to as the legume or pea family, stands as a broad and varied assembly. It’s recognised by its unique pod-like fruit and its knack for fixing nitrogen into the soil. This trait is a game-changer, empowering these plants to flourish in areas where nutrients are scarce.

Within Australia, Acacias or wattles are the main representatives of this family, though others like Cassia, Gastrolobium, and Indigofera also make appearances.

Nested within this extensive family is the Mimosoideae subfamily, to which the Australian Blackwood belongs. Plants in this category frequently sport bipinnate leaves and might feature thorns or spines. Their flowers tend to be petite, clustering together densely.

Acacia melanoxylon: Basic Information

  • Common Name: Australian Blackwood
  • Scientific Name: Acacia melanoxylon
  • Origin: South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Subfamily: Mimosoideae
  • Plant Type: Evergreen tree
  • Size: 10-30 meters in height, 5-15 meters in width
  • Leaf Type: Dark green, glossy, bipinnate
  • Flower Colour: Yellow

Appearance and Features

Acacia melanoxylon 2 | Plant Profiles

Acacia melanoxylon is an evergreen tree with a dense, spreading crown. Its bark is dark brown to black. The tree typically grows to a height of 10-30 meters and a width of 5-15 meters. Its leaves are dark green, glossy, and bipinnate.

The small, yellow flowers appear in clusters and bloom from late winter to early spring. Following the flowers, flat, brown pods emerge in late spring to early summer.

Natural Habitat

This tree is native to various parts of Australia, including South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania. It thrives in forests, grasslands, and coastal areas.

How to Grow Australian Blackwood

Acacia melanoxylon plant | Plant Profiles

Commercially, Australian Blackwood is grown for its fast growth and high-quality wood. In gardens, it can serve as an impressive shade tree. However, it can grow very large, so consider the space in your garden.

Growing Conditions

  • Soil: Well-drained, slightly acidic to neutral (pH 6.0-7.5)
  • Light: Full sun to part shade
  • Climate: Temperate to sub-tropical

Planting Guide

Best to plant in spring or autumn. Space the trees at least 5-10 meters apart.

Care and Maintenance

Water moderately and let the soil dry a bit between waterings. Prune in late winter or early spring. Mulch annually to retain moisture.

Acacia longifolia: Sydney Golden Wattle
Cordyline australis: New Zealand Cabbage Tree
Tristaniopsis laurina: Water Gum

Pest and Disease Control

Generally, this tree doesn’t suffer from specific pests or diseases. No special treatment is required.

Special Features

The Australian Blackwood is known for its rapid growth. Its wood is highly valued, often used in furniture making. Additionally, it enriches the soil by fixing nitrogen.

Wildlife and Pollinators

The tree attracts various bird species like honeyeaters and lorikeets, which feed on its nectar.

Uses in the Garden and Beyond

Commonly used as a shade or feature tree, it’s also popular for timber production. The seeds can be ground into flour or used as a coffee substitute.

Environmental Benefits

The Australian Blackwood is drought-tolerant and provides habitat for various bird species.

Australian Blackwood FAQ

How tall does the Acacia melanoxylon grow?

Acacia melanoxylon typically grows to a height of 10-30 meters.

Is the Australian Blackwood native to Australia?

Yes, it’s indigenous to various regions including South Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania.

What are the soil requirements for the Australian Blackwood?

It prefers well-drained, slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH of 6.0-7.5.

Photo of author

Linda Jones

Based in sunny Brisbane, Linda has a keen interest in ornamental plants. She firmly believes that gardens are as much about aesthetics as they are about functionality. Despite being a life-long gardener, she still enjoys learning about new plants and gardening techniques and sharing her discoveries with the Ultimate Backyard community. When she's not immersed in her garden, Linda loves reading and walking.


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