Wattle trees are incredibly common in Australian gardens, especially as they grow so happily in harsher conditions. The acacia acuminata or jam wattle is a real Aussie favourite, known for its fantastic foliage and incredibly valuable seeds.
Bright, bold and hardy, the acacia acuminata is an excellent addition to most gardens. Here is everything you need to know to cultivate, care for and grow acacia acuminata at home.
What is Acacia Acuminata?
The acacia acuminate is a common, West Australian native belonging to the Fabaceae family. This shrub-like tree produces brilliant yellow blooms and super-food-like seeds, making it an attractive option for many Aussie gardens.
Accuminata trees are also incredibly drought, frost and salt tolerant, meaning they will grow happily, even in colder or coastal regions. More affectionately known as the jam wattle, this smaller tree was often used in Aboriginal food and lifestyle.
Seeds were usually ground up and turned into a cake which cooks on the fire. The strong hardwood, said to smell like raspberries, was used to fashion a variety of structures and weapons.
Other common names include:
- Raspberry Jam Wattle
- Fine Leaf Wattle
Not only do raspberry jam trees have remarkable wood, but the curious, yellow blooms and long seed pods also offer a visual delight throughout spring and summer. This cultivar also produces a bright orange resin, which is entirely edible.
Like most wattles, the acacia acuminata is a nitrogen fixer, meaning it can help balance out nitrogen-rich soils and support many of your other garden plants. It also has a shallow root system, meaning it can grow in sandy or eroding soils.
How to Start Growing Acuminata
One of the easiest methods to start growing acuminata trees is from seed. While it may take a while to become established and over two years for your accuminata to begin flowering, the wait is worth it. Once established, your jam wattle really won't require much attention.
Ideally, you will want to start growing your jam wattle in a spot that gets plenty of sunlight. While they are adaptable in partial shade, full sun is often the better option.
Jam wattle trees prefer loose, well-draining soil. However, they're not always very picky and will likely adapt in most soil conditions, provided there is only an average amount of humidity.
Acacia Acuminata Seeds
Not only are acuminata seeds incredibly nutritious, but they also offer a straightforward cultivation option. Seeds can be store-bought or picked directly from an existing tree. Mature pods will carry as many as 35 viable seeds.
It is important to note, however, that stored seeds will require scarification. Simply leave your seeds in warm water for approximately 12 hours, then sow directly into the soil.
Sowing should be undertaken in early spring.
- Sow seed 5 mm underneath the surface of the soil.
- Keep soil moist and warm during germination. Greenhouse conditions, with temperatures reaching 25°C is ideal.
Germination should only take about 3 to 4 weeks. Avoid re-planting your seedling too early. Ideally, you'll want to wait until after its first winter to re-plant.
How to Care for Acuminata Trees
Raspberry jam trees usually flower throughout spring, followed by seeds that can be harvested throughout the summer.
As it is a drought-tolerant plant, it won't require much supplementary watering, especially in high-humidity areas. In seasons with heavy rainfall, avoid watering at all.
While jam wattle trees do enjoy a little feeding during the spring, it is best to use fertilizer sparingly. Some experts recommend feeding your acacia trees with an orchid fertilizer every few months in the first year of growth to promote rigorous roots.
As this species is fairly slow growing, in gardens reaching only 5 metres high, you won't need to worry about pruning too often. Avoid removing any young leaves and focus only on dead growth.
Problems, Pests & Diseases
Wattle trees aren't overly problem-prone, so you shouldn't come across many issues when growing jam wattle in the right conditions.
When weakened, your jam wattle may become susceptible to certain parasites or a gall rust infection. Treat pests with a natural insecticide and gall rust with a quality fungicide.
What is important to note is that the jam wattle will likely bring quite a few feeders to your garden including, birds, bees, butterflies and some grazing herbivores. These feeders often won't cause any damage to your plant.
Acacia Acuminata Uses
Acuminata trees have a long list of gardening applications and benefits, making them a very popular choice.
Acuminata trees can be used to:
- Attract wildlife.
- Be a feature plant.
- Create a hedge.
- Add screening for additional privacy.
- Provide shade.
- Provide a windbreaker.
Plus, acacia acuminata trees are perfect partner plants for quandong or sandalwood.
Beyond their gardening applications, jam wattle trees are often used for their wood. The wood is tough, closely grained, and durable as well as termite resistant. It is used extensively for crafting, furniture, and fencing with attractive reddish colour and deep patterned grain.
More so, the seeds have a wide range of benefits, carrying 45% protein, 28% fats and only 15% carbohydrates. The seeds can be ground up and turned into flour that can be used in cooking and baking.
Acacia has many uses. Ingesting the seeds is also believed to assist with diarrhea, reduce internal bleeding and improve low blood sugar.
The rich orange resin has also been used traditionally to make tea, believed to have a range of medicinal benefits.
Wrapping Up our Acacia Acuminata Guide
Keep a careful eye on soil conditions; growing jam wattle trees are easiest done in fast-draining, loose soil. Don't feel too terrible if you forget to water your jam wattle, it shouldn't affect them too much. Just supplement occasionally with a bit of water, and in the spring, a small amount of fertilizer.
Are you considering growing some other Australian natives in your garden? Check out our ultimate Australian Native plant guide.
Whichever reason you choose to grow acacia acuminata in your garden, you'll be able to enjoy an abundance of colour, greenery and wildlife.