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> Invasive plants in Israel > Acacia saligna (Labill.) Wendl.

General
Acacia saligna (Labill.) Wendl.

Mimosaceae
Life form: Evergreen shrub or tree
En: Golden Wreath Wattle, Koojong, Fr: Mimosa bleuâtre
Provenance: Southwest and southeast Australia

Open inflorescences and inflorescence buds of Acacia saligna

Distribution in Israel
The golden wreath wattle is undoubtedly the most widespread and the most frequent invasive plant species in Israel. It is found in the entire Mediterranean region of the country and in some parts of the semiarid area too.
Its distribution is not restricted to roadsides or other heavy transformed habitats; the golden wreath wattle invades natural areas, and is reported in many nature reserves and national parks.

Acacia saligna leaves: Researches carried out in Israel showed that Acacia saligna foliage is valueless for fodder improvement.

Proliferation status
According to terminology suggested by Richardson et al. (2000) Acacia saligna in Israel is clearly an "invasive" alien and more specifically it is an "invasive transformer". This means that it is "an invasive plant which changes the character, condition, form or nature of ecosystems over a substantial area relative to the extent of that ecosystem".

Mature pods of Acacia saligna. The quantities of seeds produced by the Golden Wreath are very large comparing to other invasive acacias in Israel.

Acacia saligna in Israel
The golden wreath wattle was introduced into Israel during the 1920s for soil erosion control, particularly on sand dunes.
Today Acacia saligna has become the worst invader amongst alien plants country-wide, as it occurs in virtually all types of habitats in the Mediterranean region: on sand dunes, such as the "Nitzanim sands" nature reserve, on rocky slopes, as in the "Judean Hills" national park, along river banks, as in the "Sorek river" nature reserve, and on alluvial soils, such as in the "Gibton springs" nature reserve.
In many places Acacia saligna creates dense mono-specific thickets that crowd out all native species. Local plants stand no chance of growing or sustaining themselves due to the shade produced by this evergreen tree or shrub.
Unlike most of the invasive plants in Israel, Acacia saligna can harm the physical structure of some ecosystems, especially along riverbanks. In these humid habitats individuals of Acacia saligna grow very fast, and since they are ill-adapted to flooding regimes many trees fall over and thus dramatically increase riverbanks erosion. A very similar phenomenon occurs in South-Africa as reported by D'Antonio & Meyerson (2002).
The golden wreath wattle is the alien plant species that has drawn most of the recent attention devoted to invasive plants in Israel. Several control experiments are currently in progress (see "Control" section in the following). Finally, it should be mentioned that the use of Acacia saligna in Israel has also been considered for agroforestry purposes (Degen et al., 1995; 1997).

Control
Physical treatment alone is ineffective and rather counter-productive as the cut stumps resprout vigorously, and cutting ultimately results in multi-stems individuals.
Chemical control can be performed with Glyphosate or Triclopyr. It is generally recommended to treat cut stumps with these herbicides.
Chemical control experiments are currently in progress in Israel using the drill-fill and the frilling method with undiluted Glyphosate (see more details in the "Research" menu).
Another experiment currently in progress in the northern region of Israel, is the combined use of physical and chemical treatments. Mature trees are cut, herbicides are applied on the cut stumps and fire is programmed in order to remove young shoots.
Biological control has been attempted in South Africa (Morris, 1997) with the introduction of a gall-forming rust fungus: Uromycladium teperianum. Though eradication was not achieved here, the control showed encouraging results. To this date no biological control of Acacia saligna has been planned in Israel.

Acacia saligna invading the Judean Hills region.

References
Bar P., Cohen O. & Shoshany M. (2004) Invasion rate of the alien species Acacia saligna within coastal sand dune habitats in Israel. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences 52:115-124.

D'Antonio C. & Meyerson L.A. (2002) Exotic plant species as problems and solutions in Ecological Restoration: A synthesis. Restoration Ecology 10(4):703-713.

Degen A.A., Becker K., Makker H.P.S. & Borowy N. (1995) Acacia saligna as a fodder tree for desert livestock and the interaction of its tannins with fibre fractions. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 68(1): 65-71.

Degen A.A., Blanke A., Becker K., Kam M., Benjamin R.W. & Makker H.P.S (1997) The nutritive value of Acacia saligna and Acacia salicina for goats and sheep. Animal Science Pencaitland 64(2): 253-259.

Holmes P.M., Macdonald I.A.W. & Juritz J. (1987) Effects of clearing treatment on seed banks of the alien invasive shrubs Acacia saligna and Acacia cyclops in the southern and south-western Cape, South Africa. Journal of Applied Ecology 24(3): 1045-1052.

Morris M.J. (1997) Impact of the gall-forming rust fungus Uromycladium tepperianum on the invasive tree Acacia saligna in South Africa. Biological control 10:75-82.

Yelenik S.G., Stock W.D. & Richardson D.M. (2004) Ecosystem level impacts of invasive Acacia saligna in the South African fynbos. Restoration Ecology 12(1):44-51.

Acacia saligna invading a sandy habitat along the coast.

The cut stumps of Acacia saligna resprout vigorously, and cutting ultimately results in multi-stems individuals.

Last Modified: May 9th, 2006

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