Edible Australian Acacias: Acacia torulosa
(Acacia colei, A. elecantha, A. torulosa, A. tumida)
Most Edible Acacia seed species are from northern semi-arid regions of Australia and range from medium-sized trees to large, multi-stemmed bushes. Several Edible Acacia species have been successfully introduced into African semi-arid regions like Niger and Senegal.
Acacia colei is a drought resistant, nitrogen fixing, spreading shrub-like acacia with yellow flowers. This tree has edible and nutritious pods and seeds. It has excelled in acacia trials in Niger, showing the most potential for use as a new crop plant.
A. elachantha has a good growth rate and higher seed yields than A. colei, but it has a long ripening period and a tendency to shatter. Due to its tall size, judicial pruning is necessary for an easy harvest; the new branches are flexible enough to be pulled down for harvesting. It also is a vigorous tree producing a lot of biomass and strong poles 3-4 m (10-13 ft) in length.
A. torulosa shows high survival rates after planting out, and mature A. torulosa in Niger showed no signs of stress and carried a heavy seed crop after a low rainfall year.
A. tumida has grown well in Niger but needs slightly higher rainfall conditions to thrive; the tree may grow rapidly, but fail to set seed. It has large seeds which are easy to harvest and better balanced nutritionally than A. colei seed.