Acacia melanoxylon

Blackwood, Hickory, Mudgerabah, Tasmanian Blackwood, or Blackwood Acacia

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia melanoxylon is a tree growing to 30 m tall in a variety of habitats, chiefly in wet sclerophyll forest and in or near cooler rainforest from Queensland to South Australia including Tasmania. In NSW, it is commonly encountered up and down the coast, tablelands and it is scattered on the western slopes.

Phyllodes (modified leaves) are narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, to 14 cm long and 3 cm wide.

Flowers are firstly arranged into globular heads, to10 mm diameter, with each head having up to 50 very small staminate flowers, pale yellow to white occurring in July to December. The heads are grouped into racemes, emerging from the leaf axils with up to 8 heads per raceme.

Seed pods are strongly curved or twisted or coiled, to 12 cm long and about 1 cm wide.

In the garden

Ornamentally it is an attractive feature or shade tree in broad streetscapes, reserves and parks. Long lived and attracts birds, native butterflies and insects. Is also a caterpillar food plant. Adaptable to most soils and needs moderate watering. Can grow to a large tree but in a garden it can be pruned to a medium to large shrub.

Acacias can suffer from a number of pests, including borers, scale, galls and leaf miners. Growing plants suitable to your local environment minimises these occurring.


Propagation is easy from scarified seed by covering with boiling water for 24 hours and discarding any seeds still floating on the surface.

Other information

Indigenous Australians derive an analgesic from the tree. It was also used to make spear throwers and shields.

It is a declared noxious weed species in South Africa and is a pest in Portugal’s Azores Islands. Even in some regions of Tasmania, blackwood is now considered a pest.

Acacia melanoxylon is valued for its decorative timber which may be used in cabinets, musical instruments and in boatbuilding.

Will regenerate from seed after fire as well as basal suckering.

Acacia from Greek acis, meaning a thorn or “thorny”.
melanoxylon from the Ancient Greek roots melās, meaning “dark” and “black” and ksulon, meaning “wood”.

Very common and not considered at risk in the wild.



By Jeff Howes