Bailey Acacia Tree Facts:
What Is A Bailey Acacia Tree?
A Bailey (or Baileys) is a genus of evergreen trees native to Australia. They are one of the most popular Australian hardwood species, with many varieties grown commercially for their wood and lumber. These include the Blackbutt, Blue Gum, Burra, Curly Gum, Ginkgo Biloba, Gypsophila pyrifera L. and the Kauri. All these species have similar characteristics, but each has its own unique appearance.
The name “Bailey” comes from the fact that they are all related to each other through a common ancestor, which was probably a small shrub or bush. The tree’s bark is usually dark brownish green, although some varieties may be lighter in color due to different growing conditions.
Some species may even have no bark at all!
Bailey Acacia Trees Are Native To Australia And Other Tropical Regions Of Asia & Africa
These trees are native to tropical regions of Asia and Africa. They were introduced into Australia during European settlement in the 19th century.
There are two main types of bailey acacias: those that grow in drier climates, such as the Blackbutt, and those that prefer humid environments like the Gypsophila pyrifera L. variety.
These trees are evergreens that retain their foliage in winter, but may temporarily lose them during extreme dry periods.
Hedgerow bailey varieties are shorter (10-12 meters) and grow thicker in size than the tall (30-40 meters) forest tree varieties. They can be grown for both their wood and foliage, which makes them popular with foresters and homeowners.
Forest tree bailey acacia varieties become very large over a long period of time. As the tree grows, the bark becomes very thick and cork-like.
Eventually, branches no longer grow out of the trunk, making it a very distinctive species.
Acacia baileyana is the only bailey evergreen that has pinnate leaves. Pinnate means that the leaves are made up of several leaflets.
These trees can grow to be very large and are sometimes used as fenceposts because of their strong wood and thick bark.
All acacia baileyana varieties have thorns and are usually found growing wild in dry, open forests, scrub lands and along creek banks. They are able to adapt to harsh conditions, but perform best in well-drained fertile soils that are kept moist.
All species have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, which allows them to fix nitrogen from the air. This is an essential process for all plants because it enables them to produce proteins so that they can grow.
Acacias produce brightly colored flowers, which are followed by small, hard-shelled pods (commonly called galls) that contain a few hard seeds. The seeds pass through the gut of various native birds and animals, which help with their distribution.
Acacia baileyana varieties have been introduced to parts of North America, Europe, India and the South Pacific. They grow well in USDA zones 6 to 10.
Forest tree bailey acacia varieties can grow very large and are sometimes used as fenceposts because of their strong wood and thick bark
Acacias are drought-resistant, but do not tolerate soggy soils. They thrive in dry, sandy areas and can be found growing wild in dry, open forests, scrub lands and along creek banks.
The are able to adapt to harsh conditions, but perform best in well-drained fertile soils that are kept moist.
Acacias are able to grow in a wide range of temperatures, but the warmer the climate, the faster they grow. The bailey acacia grows well in USDA zones 6 to 10, and does not tolerate temperatures below -23 degrees Celsius.
These trees are fast growing in healthy conditions, and can reach marketable size (1cm diameter) in 10 to 15 years. Acacias have a long life span and some species can live up to 75 years.
Acacias are in the Fabaceae (Pea Family). This family is made up of over 6000 species, including the vetches, beans and peas.
These plants have a flower that contains a pea-type pod and their leaves usually have a “V” shape.
The Fabaceae family consists of trees, shrubs and herbs and is found worldwide, except for Antarctica. Acacias can be either trees or shrubs and most contain a bitter poison that is used to protect them from being eaten.
Some species of acacia are used for medicine and teas.
These trees can be either monoecious (male and female flowers on the same plant) or dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants). Most bailey varieties have separate male and female plants.
The females produce flowers that are followed by pods containing from 1 to 15 seeds.
Acacias usually flower between April and August, but this can vary depending on the species and growing conditions. The bailey’s bark, leaves, pods and seedlings are sometimes grazed upon by deer, goats, rabbits and cattle.
Acacias take a long time to mature (15 to 20 years), but have the ability to spread quickly once they have become established. They also re-seed abundantly and have deep roots, which make it hard to control their spread.
The main types of acacias that occur in Australia are the: prickly, black, sweet, pink, mulga, turkey, western, tindale, mallee, small leaf and silver. The type found in New South Wales are the: prickly, black, sweet, pink and silver.
Acacias are able to grow in a wide range of soils, but most types prefer red or yellow earths. Acacias thrive best in dry areas, but some types can grow well when there is adequate rainfall.
They can survive long, dry periods as seeds, so they often sprout after good rains.
Acacias have the ability to grow from seed, but they also have a large network of roots that can produce new trees. They spread by sending out lateral roots just beneath the soil surface, which can send up new shoots from far away from the mother tree.
Acacias are mostly found along roadsides, on railway lines and around homesteads throughout Australia. They are important trees for stock feed, especially after rain.
The prickly, black, sweet, pink and silver acacias can be found growing in New South Wales. The prickly acacia grows naturally in the drier parts of the State and is common on the western slopes and plains.
The black acacia grows in dry areas of the north, northwest and central NSW. The sweet acacia is common along the Murray River and in the southwest of the State. The pink acacia is found mostly on sandy soils in the north and west of NSW. The silver acacia is only found on hillsides in the Australian Capital Territory.
Acacias can be identified by their:
Palmately compound leaves (divided into 5 or more leaflets)
Spine-tipped leafstalks and/or leaflets
Thread-like petioles (leaf stalks)
Cylindrical flower clusters
Pods that are straight or slightly curved and have less than 15 seeds
Acacias have the ability to fix nitrogen from the air and leave the soil in good condition for other plants to grow.
Acacias are relatively free from diseases and parasites and the wood is usually not attacked by wood-boring insects. Some types of acacia are susceptible to a disease caused by a storage fungus that is spread by sawdust, chips and other wood waste.
Before planting acacias it is important to check with the local nursery or the NP&M to make sure what type you want can withstand the conditions in your area.
Acacia seeds can be collected by allowing seed pods to dry on the tree and then opening them to collect the seeds. The pods should be opened carefully to avoid damaging the seeds.
Acacia seeds should not be allowed to become wet until they are planted, so they need to be stored in a dry place.
Acacia seedlings are very susceptible to diseases, so it is important that they are planted in disease free areas. It is best to collect your own seedlings and transplant them into your desired area.
If you are planting your acacias in an area that has poor drainage, it is best to improve this before planting. Add organic matter like leaf mould or well-rotted manure to the planting site to help improve the fertility of the soil.
Acacia trees can grow quite tall, so make sure that they have enough room to grow.
Acacias should be planted in groups of at least threes or fives to give them strength. It is also important not to plant a type of acacia from the same area, together as they may cross and become a new type of tree.
Acacias require little maintenance, but cutting back or thinning out the trees every now and then will help promote new growth and keep them healthy.
Acacias don’t tolerate frost, so they will not survive in areas where the temperature drops below freezing.
Before planting acacias in new areas, it is important to check with the local nursery or the National Parks and Wildlife Service to make sure that they are suited to your area.
Acacias are useful in stabilizing sandy areas and can be used in wind breaks to protect homes or other buildings from strong winds.
The gum produced by some types of acacia can be processed into chewing gum, rubber, glue, and other products. Acacia wood is very dense and durable and has many uses including making furniture.
The bark from some types of acacia is even edible.
Acacias fix nitrogen in the soil and can be useful in helping grow other plants.
Acacias have been used by farmers for thousands of years to help replenish the soil. They have been used in feeding animals, for wood for building houses and other structures.
Acacias are usually grown for their wood, their gum or just as an ornamental tree. They are hardy and fast growing.
Acacias are a very large and diverse group of plants. They grow naturally in all the mainland states of Australia and in most parts of Africa, Asia and America.
Acacias can be either evergreen or deciduous. Deciduous types lose their leaves during the dry season, like most trees in Australia do.
Evergreen types retain their leaves all year round and continue growing. The bark of most types is very thick, rough and slightly cork-like. The leaves range in colour from light green to grey-green depending on the type. The flowers are usually yellow, but can be white, pink or red. They grow either individually or in clusters at the tips of branches.
Acacia trees are known for their spiky thorns which cover the branches and stems. The thorns are usually very sharp and protect the plant from being eaten by animals.
Acacias can grow in many different types of soil as long as it is not waterlogged. They often grow on dry hills and plains with poor soil.
There are over 1250 species of acacia, all of which are very similar in appearance and have similar properties.
Acacias are known to have been used by the ancient Egyptians. In fact, the word ‘acacia’ comes from the Egyptian word for the plant ‘akkaya’.
The ancient Egyptians made pots, vessels, shields, boats, roofs, sandals, beds, baskets, and idols from the wood.
Acacia trees are also known as ‘wattle’ or ‘mulga’. Wattle comes from the word ‘weat’ which means to weave.
This refers to the way the branches are woven into fences. They can also be called ‘mulga’ or ‘gum tree’.
Acacia trees can be either be evergreen or deciduous, depending on the climate they are growing in. Deciduous types lose their leaves during the dry season to conserve water.
Evergreen types retain their leaves all year and keep growing.
Acacias are long-living and some species can live for over a thousand years.
Acacias grow naturally in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. They are found in many different types of environment but most grow in dry, arid or semi-arid areas.
Acacias are usually either small or medium-sized trees but some species can grow into a large tree with a wide spreading crown. The spines on the branches often form dense pyramid-shaped clusters that protect the plant from being eaten.
Acacia trees grow flowers that produce seeds (fruit) and also have pods. The flower parts are tiny and grow in clusters.
The types of acacia trees found in Australia are the mulga, the wattle and the Mimosa. The wattle is easily identified by its distinctive yellow puff-ball flowers, which usually appear between August and October.
The wattle is a very common tree that grows all over Australia, in all different types of soil, climate and altitude. It can also grow very quickly and specimens over 10 metres high and 60 metres wide are not uncommon.
The mulga is a type of acacia that has many short, downward-pointing thorns that are usually less than 5mm long. It has small, green, oval-shaped leaves that grow in clusters of 20 to 30 at the ends of the branches.
The mature bark is reddish-brown and the small yellow flowers grow in clusters of globular buds. It usually flowers between April and August.
The mimosa is also a type of acacia and can be identified by its drooping yellow or pink flowers that grow in long, thin clusters. It also has thin, oval-shaped leaves that grow in clusters of 7 to 11 at the tips of the branches.
The bark on this type of tree is a reddish colour with diamond-shaped markings. It flowers between July and October.
Acacia trees provide a variety of food and shelter for animals and are also cultivated for their many uses by humans:
The wood of the acacia tree is hard and not very strong but can be used to make furniture and implements that do not require great strength such as bowls, toys, spoons etc.
Sources & references used in this article:
Invasive alien trees and water resources in South Africa: case studies of the costs and benefits of management by …, BW van Wilgen, CM Gelderblom, C Bailey… – Forest Ecology and …, 2002 – Elsevier
Triterpenoid saponins from Acacia victoriae (Bentham) decrease tumor cell proliferation and induce apoptosis by …, LK Hutter, Y Lu, ME Blake, GS Jayatilake, D Bailey… – Cancer Research, 2001 – AACR
Survival and growth of Acacia dealbata vs. native trees across an invasion front in south-central Chile by A Fuentes-Ramírez, A Pauchard, LA Cavieres… – Forest Ecology and …, 2011 – Elsevier