White ball acacia

Alert

Have you seen White ball acacia?

Be on the lookout for White ball acacia and report it to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection and reporting are the key elements in controlling White ball acacia.

Call us on 13 25 23.

Native to tropical and subtropical America, white ball acacia is a highly variable perennial shrub. White ball acacia was planted at trial sites throughout Queensland in the 1970s and 1980s to investigate its potential as a forage legume.

White ball acacia can invade nearby habitats, forming dense, thorny thickets that exclude native vegetation and pasture. It is now being eradicated at the handful of sites in Queensland where it has naturalised.

White ball acacia is a prohibited invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Acaciella angustissima syn. Acacia angustissima, Acacia boliviana

Other names

  • Fern acacia, prairie acacia

Description

  • Thornless shrub or small tree generally 2-7m tall, sometimes up to 12m, with single short trunk.
  • Leaves are bipinnate, 10-21cm long, usually have 10-17 pairs of pinnae.
  • Each leaf is borne on a stalk 20-45 mm long and has 9-25 pairs of branchlets. Leaf stalks and leaf branchlets have a covering of soft hairs.
  • Pinnae are 2.5-5cm long, each bears 20-40 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets are small, 2.4-5mm long, 0.5-2mm wide, with pointed tips and entire margins
  • Flowers are whitish, in globular or elliptical clusters 1-1.5cm across.
  • Pods are flat, thin-walled, papery, oblong, 3-9cm long, 6-15mm wide, with straight or sinuate margins.
  • Pods are acute at base and apex, with stripe 7-12mm long and beak 2-7mm long.
  • Pods contain 8-12 circular seeds 2.5-3.2mm across.

Habitat

  • Best adapted to seasonally dry tropical areas with annual rainfall 400-3000mm.

Distribution

  • Found at scattered locations around Queensland.

Life cycle

  • Produces large number of seeds.
  • Seed banks are long-lived.
  • May also produce new shoots through root suckering.
  • Flowering occurs year-round.

Impacts

Environmental

  • Escapes cultivation and invades nearby habitats.
  • Forms dense thickets that exclude more desirable pasture plants and native vegetation.
  • Potential to become widespread and abundant invasive pest of much of north Queensland's dry tropical woodlands and riparian areas, extending to subcoastal and coastal southern Queensland.

How it is spread

  • Spread by cattle and water.

Control

  • Call 13 25 23 if you find a plant you suspect may be white ball acacia to seek advice on control options.

Legal requirements

  • White ball acacia is a prohibited invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit.
  • The Act requires that all sightings to be reported to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.
  • By law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risk of White ball acacia spreading until they receive advice from an authorised officer.

Further information