Before we revert to more of the “feathery” Acacias – a correction

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Weeds in our Area (Part Sixty Eight)

By Bob and Ena McIntyre, Botanical Society of S.A. – Garden Route Branch

Before we revert to more of the “feathery” Acacias – a correction: Our previous article (No 67) about Acacia podalariifolia missed two important descriptive words, and should read as follows: …….. by sporting oval or elliptic phyllodes (leaf-like petiole with no blade)……. This is pretty important because other Acacias e.g. Blackwood, rooikrans, etc also have phyllodes but these are mostly long and narrow or blade shaped. Please accept our apologies for any confusion.
Bailey’s Wattle (Acacia baileyana) originating from New South Wales, SE Australia, was recommended in the 1950’s as the Acacia “best for gardens…..being decorative in form……quick growing and tolerating both drought and frost”. Like all the others it found a very happy, comfortable and enemy-free home. Many of these are commonly seen in gardens. Today Bailey’s wattle is listed as a Category Three invader (plants in existence before 30 March 2001 - may be kept but no new plantings are permitted). The species is not a major invader in our area at this stage but it does occur in many gardens. It is inclined to seed itself and seedlings are often found close to a ‘mother’ plant. The plant is categorised as a potential transformer. This means that our indigenous vegetation runs the risk of being “out-competed” by invasive species with no natural enemies. Invariably this type of transformation of the landscape also seriously impacts on general biodiversity and water resources.

Identification: Bailey’s wattle is a small unarmed evergreen tree 3-6 meters tall, but can at times reach up to 9 meters with grey or bluish foliage. The leaves are small 20-50mm long, bipinnate spirally arranged around the branchlets with 2-4 pairs of pinnae, with a gland at the junction of each pinnae pair or sometimes only at the top few pairs. The flowers are bright yellow arranged in globular flower heads in large showy sprays from July to September.

Control: The spread of Acacia baileyana needs to be kept in check as with all other invasive Australian acacias. Cut stumps coppice easily and will therefore require herbicide treatment.

References: “ALIEN WEEDS AND INVASIVE PLANTS” : Lesley Henderson. Copyright © 2001 Agricultural Research Council. Ornamental Shrubs and Trees for gardens in Southern Africa: Una van der Spuy, The A-Z of Gardening in SA: W.G. Sheat, Flowering shrubs and Trees for SA Gardens: Sima Eliovson
Substitutes: Psychotria capensisr (Bird berry), Podalyria calyptrata (Pink keurtjie), Polygala myrtifolia (September bush)

BotSoc Forthcoming Events

Bitou Twig: August 19th: De Vasselot Ramble – please contact Jean or Maaike below

Knysna Twig: August 27th: Brenton Outing – please contact Chris Gow below
BotSoc Contacts in your area: George/Wilderness: McIntyre’s 044 877 1360

Knysna: Chris Gow 044 387 1978, Ariane Rohloff 044 382 7993

Mossel Bay: Lucretia van der Walt 044 691 3230. Stilbaai: Janet Naude 028 754 1106

Plettenberg Bay (Bitou Twig): Jean Sparg 044 533 2625, Maaike Murphy 044 531 6857

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