Domestication of wattles with edible seeds for the wheatbelt of Western Australia
Maurice W. McDonald1, Bruce R. Maslin2 and Lex A.J. Thomson1
(1) CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products, Australian Tree Seed Centre, PO Box E4008, Kingston, Australian Capital Territory 2604
(2) Department of Conservation and Land Management, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, Western Australia 6983
This paper reviews species with potential for edible wattle seed production for the wheatbelt region of Western Australia. It identifies that market demand for seed products is a major constraint to any large-scale plantings aimed specifically at wattle seed production. Comprehensive analyses of seeds for anti-nutritional or toxic components and taste appraisals of newly targeted species are also an imperative. To date there has been insufficient research to guarantee uniformity and consistency of seed yield using wattles new to domestication. These issues must be addressed if economic gain from growing edible wattles is to be achieved. In the meantime the most significant benefit from cultivating them will be to incorporate them into plantings aimed at ameliorating land degradation. Attributes and relevant details are presented for 22 endemic species considered the most promising for the production of seed for human food in the wheatbelt of Western Australia. Four of these species, namely, A. anthochaera, A. microbotrya, A. murrayana, A. saligna and A. victoriae, were considered the best prospects and are discussed in detail.