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Acacia celsa

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Acacia celsa Tindale, Austral. Syst. Bot . 1(13): 34 (2000)

Brown Salwood

Trees 8–30 m tall, single-stemmed or sparingly branched at base, trunks to c. 80 cm diameter. Bark hard, thin, very shallowly rimose. Branchlets flattened and acutely angled at the light greenish extremities. Phyllodes dimidiate, 5–15.5 cm long, (1–) 1.5–2.5 (–3.5) cm wide, thinly coriaceous, glabrous, dark green to grey–green with a slight sheen; longitudinal nerves numerous, parallel (not anastomosing) and very close together (4–5 per mm), 3–4 main and 3–4 secondary nerves more pronounced than the rest; pulvinus 3–6 mm long. Inflorescences simple, 4–8 per axil; peduncles 4 6 mm long, glabrous; spikes 3–6 cm long, interrupted, pale lemon yellow. Flowers 5 merous; calyx gamosepalous; ovary +/- glabrous. Pods oblong to narrowly oblong, undulate (especially the dorsal margin), curved (sometimes into an open circle), 2–5 cm long, (1–) 1.5–2 cm wide, dehiscing along dorsal suture, woody, resinous, nerves rather prominent and +/- longitudinal to longitudinally oblique. Seeds oblique to transverse, +/- ovoid, 3–6 mm long, 2–3 mm wide, glossy, brown to black; funicle/aril greyish cream, ageing dark grey to grey–brown.

Common in NE Qld where it extends from S of Cooktown to the eastern portion of the Atherton Tableland, with a disjunct southern occurrence on the Paluma Ra., NW of Townsville. Occurs as a pioneer or canopy species in rainforest habitats where the mean annual rainfall ranges from 1300 to 4000 mm. It ranges from coastal plains and steep mountains (commonly up to 600–900 m high). Flowers Jan. – May.

Phyllode dimensions can vary considerably both within and between populations. Specimens from Little Pine State Forest Reserve 933, SE of Cairns, have atypically narrow pods 10–12 mm wide (B.Gray 2251, QRS).

Acacia celsa is a member of the ‘ A. aulacocarpa group’ and until recently was included within A. aulacocarpa itself. Based on its dorsal mode of pod dehiscence A. celsa is related most closely to A. aulacocarpa and A. disparrima but is readily distinguished from these species, and from all other members of the ‘ A. aulacocarpa group’, by its obviously curved, undulate, woody pods. Other distinctive features include its tall stature, rainforest habitat and large number of spikes per axil (4–8). A revision of the ‘ A. aulacocarpa group’ is presented in M.W.McDonald & B.R.Maslin, Austral. Syst. Bot. 13(1): 21–78 (2000).

Putative natural hybrids between A. aulacocarpa and A. celsa occur at Paluma Dam.

The timber of A. celsa has been used as framing, weatherboards, joinery and also for furniture, veneer and joinery, turnery and woodcraft items. A recent study of the pulping qualities of tropical acacias sampled from natural stands showed A. celsa as having one of the strongest, bleached kraft pulps tested, see M.W.McDonald and B.R.Maslin, Austral. Syst. Bot . 13(1): 45 (2000) for references and further information.

Type of accepted name

2.5 km E along Mission Beach turn–off from Bruce Highway, Qld, 4 Oct. 1996, M.W.McDonald 2175 & P.A.Butcher ; holo: NSW; iso: K, PERTH, BRI.


D.J.Boland et al ., J. Tropic. For. Sci . 3: 156, figs 1–4, 7 & 8 (1984), as A. aulacocarpa ; L.A.J.Thomson, Acacia aulacocarpa , A. cincinnata , A. crassicarpa and A. wetarensis an Annotated Bibliography (CSIRO: Melbourne.), p. 9, fig. 1C (1994), and B.R.Maslin & M.W.McDonald, A Key to useful Australian Acacias for the Seasonally Dry Tropics (CSIRO: Melbourne.), p. 19 (1996), as A. aulacocarpa subsp. C.; D.C.Christophel & B.P.M.Hyland. Leaf Atlas of Australian Tropical Rain Forest Trees (CSIRO: Melbourne.), p. 149, pl. 87h (1993); M.W.McDonald & B.R.Maslin, Austral. Syst. Bot. 13(1): 37, fig. 5 & 38, fig. 6 (2000).

Representative collections

Qld: Rifle Creek, 2 km N of Mount Molloy towards Mossman, R.J.Cumming 5812 (PERTH); Paluma Dam, Paluma Range, c. 50 km NW of Townsville, M.W.McDonald & B.R.Maslin BRM 7635 (BRI, NSW, PERTH); Ella Bay, NW of Innisfail, M.W.McDonald & B.R.Maslin BRM 7641 (BRI, NSW, PERTH); 15.5 km S of Cooktown–Lakeland Road on Daintree Road to Mossman, M.W.McDonald & B.R.Maslin BRM 7661 (CANB, BRI, NSW, PERTH); Daintree at Daintree River ferry crossing, south bank, I.V.Newman 528 (NSW).


This species was not included in the Fl. Australia treatment of Acacia ; the above account is based on the original description.

WATTLE Acacias of Australia CD-ROM graphic

The information presented here originally appeared on the WATTLE CD-ROM which was jointly published by the Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra, and the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Perth; it was produced by CSIRO Publishing from where it is available for purchase. The WATTLE custodians are thanked for allowing us to post this information here.

Page last updated: Tuesday 24 August 2021