Acacia (Acacia sp.), Coastal Path.
Acacias or wattles are 3 to 5-metre-tall trees or shrubs, with flat or a bit cracked dark brown or ash-grey bark. Their leaves are narrow and flat (phyllodes), wider at the centre, and with a pointed ending or a leaf blade. The inflorescence consists of clusters with from 25 to 70 bright yellow flowers. Their fruit is a legume. It is from 5 to 14 cm long, compressed, straight or bent, a bit wavy and shrunk between the seeds. It can be brownish-grey or greenish-blue.
DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT
This species is a native of Australia, but it has been introduced and grown all over the world. On the Iberian Peninsula, it is used as an ornamental plant and to stabilise sand on coastal dunes. It sometimes occurs between the sea level and 200 m of altitude in varied places along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coast and in Spanish and Portuguese inland. It can live in any kind of surroundings but it is very sensitive to freeze.
HOW THEY LIVE
This species easily colonises changed soils, like ditches at new roads. It agrees with salty wind so there are a lot of these plants on the coastline. Their seeds are spread by ants, which take them to their nests so they could eat the fleshy top cover. They sprout from the stump easily, so they are difficult to be removed and they cannot be completely destroyed.
WHERE THEY CAN BE SEEN IN MÁLAGA
As this species is common in gardening due to its size and spectacular inflorescence, it is likely to be seen in hotel gardens, or in residential areas and parks all along the Malaga’s coastline, on both, eastern and western coast, in ditches next to the roads or paths. They can also be seen in natural surroundings.
The species name, Acacia, comes from the Greek word ‘akis’, and means ‘point, top’, referring to the spines of African acacias, as Australian ones, do not have them.
Their blossom is amazing, so the gardens with them are gorgeous, above all, those which have Acaciassaligna, which has branches full of yellow flowers which lean like a waterfall. They are used for a good shade and soil cover. The fodder produced from this species is also highly regarded.
Plants from this genus are plenty, so it is usual to find different similar specie that are difficult to tell apart at the same place. The most widespread species on this coast is Acacia saligna, although A. dealbata and A. longifolia are also common.