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The Various Kinds of Wattle-Barks. (Good, Bad, and Indifferent.)

I HAVE already referred to the fact that in Australia the term “wattle” is applied to species of Acacia. Acacias are very largely developed in this continent, there being about 312 of them, of which New South Wales boasts 102, and a fresh one is occasionally discovered. The barks of all are more or less astringent, owing to the tannic acid they contain, but most of them are useless to the tanner, for three reasons—they are either of too small a size to strip profitably, their bark is too weak in tannic acid, or they are not sufficiently abundant. Nevertheless a number are more or less useful, and the object in furnishing the specific information in regard to each wattle which follows is threefold, viz.,—to give information in regard to the percentage of tannic acid in those barks already used by the tanner, to draw his attention to other barks worthy of notice, and to put him on his guardnote in regard to what, for his purpose, may be termed worthless species. Most of the analyses given are my own, and refer chiefly to New South Wales barks; I hope, however, to be able to add analyses of the wattle-barks of the other colonies from time to time.

The species are true to name, herbarium specimens having been collected in most instances where analyses are given. The local names are also made as complete as possible. Altogether it is the most comprehensive catalogue of wattle-barks which has been published up to the present time.




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A number of analyses are now published for the first time. They are by Löwenthal's improved process. Partly through the kindness of friends, and partly through the energy of the Museum Collector, there is in the Technological Museum the most extensive collection of wattle-barks I know of any where. I have collected many with my own hands.

They are listed in botanical order, since this has the advantage of bringing closely related wattles together. There is a full index and also tables at the end to facilitate reference. It will become evident to the reader who bestows a moment's reflection on the subject that it is impossible for me to arrange these wattles under their local names, for the reason that some have several names, while the same name, also, is occasionally held by several. As this little book is primarily intended for non-botanists, I regret I have no alternative but to give what appears to be most prominence to the botanical names.

1. Acacia colletioides, A. Cunn., B.Fl.,note ii., 325. “WAIT-A-WHILE” (a delicate allusion to the predicament of a traveller desirous of penetrating a belt of it).

Some bark from a very old shrub was examined by the author, and yielded 10·56 per cent. of extract, and 4·4 per cent. of tannic acidnote (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1887, p. 87). It consisted of little more than fibre. This is a dry country wattle, and the most favourable specimen of it is not likely to be of use to the tanner, since apart from its small percentage of tannic acid it is but a shrub.

New South Wales, Victoria, South and Western Australia. In the two first colonies, at any rate, it is not found in the coast districts.

2. Acacia siculiformis, A. Cunn., B.Fl., ii., 329.

A tallish shrub merely. The bark not to be distinguished from that of A. pravissima (page 24). I have analysed (April, 1890), a sample of bark from Jindabyne, Snowy River, N.S.W., collected January, 1890; height, 6 to 10 feet; diameter, 1 to 4 inches; grown on granite soil. It contains 7·87 per cent. of tannic acid, and yields 31·85 per cent. of extract.

Found in the mountains and high table-lands of New South Wales (southern), Victoria, and Tasmania.

3. Acacia tetragonophylla, F. v. M., B.Fl., ii., 330. “DEAD FINISH.”

A sample of this bark from Tarella, Wilcannia, N.S.W., from a tree whose height was 10 to 12 feet and diameter 6 to 8 inches, was examined by the writer (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1888, p. 267), and gave 14·96 per cent. of extract and 5·59 per cent. of tannic acid. It was collected August, 1887, and analysed August, 1888. This is one of the usual dry-country wattle-barks, consisting almost entirely of bundles of fibre, even the hoary outside bark being more or less readily separable into long ribbons.

A western and desert species occurring in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland, not found in the coast districts, nor, I believe, in the mountain ranges. Its chief habitat is the country west of the Darling.




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4. Acacia rigens, A. Cunn., B.Fl., ii., 337. “NEALIE,” or “NEEDLE BUSH.”

Bark from an old tree, from near Hay, N.S.W., yielded the author 19·05 per cent. of extract, and 6·26 per cent. of tannic acid. (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1887, p. 88.)

It consists of but little else than layers of fibre. A dry-country wattle. South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales.

5. Acacia calamifolia, Sweet, B.Fl., ii., 339. “WILLOW” or “BROOM WATTLE.” “Wallowa” of the aboriginals of Lake Hindmarsh Station (Victoria).

A sample of bark is in the Technological Museum, received in the year 1883, was stated to contain 20·63 per cent. of tannic acid, according to an analysis by Mr. Thomas, of Adelaide. It was labelled “A. calamifolia.” I analysed this bark, which came from the Murray Flat Ranges, South Australia, and found it to contain 36·06 per cent. of tannic acid, yielding no less than 63·1 per cent. of extract. It is nearly 5/16 of an inch thick, solid, smooth, containing very little fibre, and hardly to be distinguished from A. pycnantha bark. I received it, however, under the name by which I now describe it, and the tree is not personally known to me.

The bark is a superb one. As to the discrepancy between my analysis and that of Mr. Thomas, I can state that I have proved that barks stored in a dry place increase in percentage of tannic acid; but what that percentage is, or whether any generalization can be made, my experiments hardly yet warrant me in stating. Mr. Thomas' figures may have been based on a very different sample of the parcel to that which has come into my hands, but what the percentage of tannic acid was in my particular specimen in 1883, can only be guesswork. My analysis was made April, 1890. I draw attention, in this context, to the footnote at page 16, in regard to my analyses all being calculated on the bark freed from moisture.

I received this particular bark from a firm of the highest reputation, and I am confident that no transposition of labels has occurred in this Museum. So far as I know, A. calamifolia does not attain a size sufficient to yield bark similar to that under examination, and I trust that correspondents will kindly enable me to state the proper position of A. calamifolia as a bark-yielding wattle.

A. calamifolia is recorded from South Australia, Victoria, and the extreme west of New South Wales.

6. Acacia verniciflua, A. Cunn., B.Fl., ii., 358.

This small tree (height, 20 to 25 feet, with a diameter of 2 to 5 inches), exudes a sticky substance from the leaves, hence the specific name. The bark reminds one irresistibly of cascarilla bark. It is full of fibre, and of no use to the tanner. A specimen collected in April, 1889, on the Delegate River, N.S.W., in granite country, was analysed by me the following April, and found to yield 22·35 per cent. of extract, and only 3·16 per cent. of tannic acid.

Found in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania, chiefly on mountains and high table-lands. In the south-east in such situations it does not extend further north than the Bombala District; out west it was found both by Cunningham and by Mitchell.




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7. Acacia sentis, F.v.M., B.Fl., ii., 360.

A specimen of a dirty grey scaly bark, ? of an inch thick, from Ivanboe, N.S.W., yielded the author 18.02 per cent. of extract, and tannic acid 6·32 per cent. (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1887, p. 29.)

A second sample from Cobbam Lake, Milparinka, N.S.W., was analysed by the author, August, 1888. (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1888, 268.) Tree, height 15 to 20 ft., diameter 4 to 6 inches, collected, August, 1887. It yielded extract 33·82 per cent., tannic acid 10·26 per cent. This bark would scarcely be taken for the product of a dry country wattle. It is from a younger tree to that already described, and is almost perfectly smooth and of a light brown colour. The collector reports “when fresh it is of a beautiful bright green colour, much like the bark of A. decurrens. I have found it easier to strip than any other bark I have stripped yet out west.” It is very compact. Average thickness, ? inch.

An inland, desert species. In all the colonies except Tasmania.

8. Acacia falcata, Willd., B.Fl., ii., 361. Called “BASTARD MYALL,” in the Braidwood District, N.S.W. It also goes by the names of “Hickory,” “Sally,” and “Lignum-vitæ.” It was formerly the “Wee-tjellan” of the aboriginals of Cumberland and Camden, N.S.W. (Macarthur.)

It is said to yield a good tanning bark, but it is usually of rather small size and not likely to be of importance to the tanner.

On the coast districts, and on to the dividing range, in New South Wales and Queensland; its farthest southern locality is the Shoalhaven River.

9. Acacia penninervis, Sieb., B.Fl., ii., 362. A “BLACKWOOD,” usually called “Hickory” or “Mountain Hickory,” from Braidwood to the Victorian border.

The bark contains 17·9 per cent. of tannic acid, and 3·8 per cent. of gallic acid. (Mueller.) The following analysis is given by the Queensland Commissioners, Colonial and Indian Exhibition, 1886:—Tannin, 14·49 per cent.; extract, 33·06 per cent. Specimens from Monga, near Braidwood, N.S.W., yielded the author (a) from the bark of the twigs, 22·88 per cent. of extract, and 16·24 per cent. of tannic acid; (b) from the bark of the trunk, 45·5 per cent. of extract, and 16·96 per cent. of tannic acid. The trunk-bark is smoothish, of a dirty brown colour; average thickness ? inch. The outer bark peels off in scales; the bark is very fibrous. The bark of the branches is smoother than that of the trunk, yet not perfectly smooth, is of a dirty grey colour, and 1/16 inch in thickness. (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1887, 30.)

The following bark of the same species is so different from the preceding that I describe it in detail. It is a practical illustration of the variability in appearance and composition of some wattle-barks, and shows the necessity of supplying the fullest particulars in regard to barks, where it is desired that full information in regard to what is already known of any given species of wattle may be afforded. This sample was collected at Brown's Camp, Delegate, N.S.W., in April, 1889, and analysed the following April. The trees were from 30 to 60 ft. high, with the large diameter of 1 to 2 ft. They grow in granite soil. My samples yielded 55·2 per cent. of extract with the excellent result of 34 per cent. of tannic acid. This bark is over ? inch thick, and therefore one of the thickest wattle-barks I have seen. The outside is rugged, almost like an ironbark, but the bark cuts solid, contains comparatively little fibre, analysis shows it to be one of the richest in tannic acid, while the trees are abundant and attain a large size. I recommend this tree


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to the earnest attention of tanners in New South Wales, and figure it particularly because it has come to my knowledge that in parts of Southern New South Wales it does not appear that the bark has ever been stripped and tried, because people do not look upon it as a wattle!

The mature trees which yielded the excellent result to which I have made allusion must have each contained half a ton of bark. They grew on a mountain side sloping west, on poor soil, and associated with the native cherry (Exocarpus cupressiformis), also of extraordinarily large dimensions. The tree is, of course, usually of smaller size, but it is in the highest degree improbable that Brown's Camp is the only New South Wales locality for the best specimens.

Found in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania. In New South Wales and Victoria it is chiefly a highland and mountain species.

10. Acacia retinodes, Schlecht., B.Fl., ii., 362.

Said to yield a good tan-bark.

South Australia and Victoria.

11. Acacia neriifolia, A. Cunn., B.Fl., ii., 363. A “BLACK WATTLE.”

The following analysis of the bark is given by the Queensland Commissioners, Colonial and Indian Exhibition, 1886:—Tannin, 13·91 per cent; extract, 17·87 per cent.

New South Wales and Queensland. On river banks and mountains in the coast districts from the Clyde River, in Southern New South Wales, to South Queensland.

12. Acacia saligna, Wendl., B.Fl., ii., 364. “WEEPING WATTLE.”

In South-west Australia it is the principal source of tan-bark, and is said to contain nearly 30 per cent. of tannic acid. It is a small tree, common in most parts of extra-tropical West Australia, at least towards the coast. (Mueller.)

13. Acacia pycnantha, Benth., B.Fl. ii., 365. The “BROAD-LEAVED WATTLE” of South Australia; called also “Golden, Black, or Green Wattle.” It was known under the name of “Witch” by the aboriginals of Lake Hindmarsh Station, Victoria.

One of the richest tanning barks in the world; a richer may exist, but I do not know of it. A sample of this bark was received by me in 1883 from Messrs. F. Pflaum & Co., of Blumberg, South Australia, with the note “contains 33·5 per cent. of tannin, according to Mr. Thomas, of Adelaide.” I analysed the sample in April, 1890, and obtained the following extraordinary result by Löwenthal's improved process—the process I always adopt, viz.:—

   
Tannic acid  46·47 per cent 
Extract  74·7 per cent 

This has been stored seven years in the Museum, and has doubtless increased in percentage of tannic acid during that period. Nevertheless it is the grandest specimen of wattle-bark I have ever examined. It is smooth, a model of compactness, contains a minimum of fibre, and therefore powders splendidly, is of good colour, and an excellent bark in every way. South Australia has practically the monopoly of this bark, and it is a grand heritage,—the envy of the eastern colonies.




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A second sample forwarded to me April, 1890, and analysed the same month, is from the vicinity of Mount Torrens, 20 miles east of Adelaide, and was obtained from Mr. J. E. Brown, Conservator of South Australian Forests, through the courtesy of Mr. Albert Molineux, Secretary of the Agricultural Bureau of that Colony. It yielded 39·1 per cent. of tannic acid, with 73·5 per cent. of extract. It is of course an admirable bark, but it is thinner than the preceding sample, and would at once strike an expert, even from visual examination, as second to it. But even this contains nearly 3 per cent. of tannic acid more than any other sample of wattle-bark of other species I have examined. It is, however, only fair to say that I have been unable to procure samples of the best brands of Tasmanian bark.

In forwarding the sample, Mr. Molineux says,—“The bark was taken from a height of about 2 feet above ground. It was from a large tree, of which there have been, and still are, great numbers in the locality. Mount Torrens District is the best in the Colony for rich good bark, and the Conservator has in hand upwards of 30 tons of seed from these, some of which is for sale.”

One pound of plump South Australian seed of this wattle contains, according to a careful determination under my own supervision, 23,808 seeds, so that cultivators may reckon safely on 20,000.

The following are results of analyses of thirteen samples of A. pycnantha bark received from Mr. J. E. Brown. They were stripped 29th April, 1890, analysed a month later, and were grown on the Government Farm, Belair, S.A. Height of trees, from 8 to 14 feet.

                           
No.  Age, Diameter, and part of Tree from which taken.  Percentage of Tannic Acid.  Percentage of Extract.  Geological Formation, Soil, &c. 
From butt of tree; diameter, 3½ in. (Age, about 5 years.)  37·5  63·9  Nos. 1 to 7 are taken from trees growing in an uneven basin, between the lower and upper ranges; soil, light sandy loam over gravel wash and yellow clay. 
From limb of No. 1  33·75  63·25 
From butt of tree; diameter, 2 in. (Age, 4 years.)  28·5  57·75 
From butt of tree; diameter, 1¾ in. (Age, 3 years.)  36·25  68·35 
From butt of tree; diameter, 2 in. (Age, 4 years.)  36·5  64·25 
From butt of tree; diameter, 2½ in. (Age, 4 years.)  37·5  65·35 
From limb of No. 6  32·95  63·25 
From butt of tree; diameter, 4½ in. (Age, 5 years.)  37·25  64·5  No. 8, from the S.W. slope of the upper ranges; soil, light clay over bed rock of hard sandstone. 
From limb of No. 8  38·5  66·2 
10  From butt of tree; diameter, 2 in. (Age, 4 years.)  35·95  63·4  No. 10, from the top of upper range; soil, about 2 in. of light sandy loam over bed rock of hard sandstone. 
11  From limb of No. 10  32·1  63·1 
12  From butt of tree; diameter, 3 in. (Age, 5 years.)  35·5  64·85  No. 12, from N.E. slope of upper range; soil, same as No. 10. 
13  From butt of tree; diameter, 4 in. (Age, 7 years.)  35·45  63·5  No. 13, same as No. 8. 




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It will be noticed that in three cases, Nos. 2, 7, and 11, the results of analysis are slightly lower than that of the bark gathered from the butt of the same tree, but in the case of No. 9 the result is slightly higher, the appearance of the bark when powdered, of No. 8, was too dark to be first class, while that of No. 9 was the best of the whole thirteen samples, and gives the best result.

The powder from the bark of the limb is generally of a lighter colour than that taken from the butt, although the powders of Nos. 5, 10, and 12 were very light for bark taken from the trunk of the tree.

The bark of No. 3 was not first class, being far too fibrous.

In Part III of the Forest Flora of South Australia, by J. E. Brown, the following analyses of this bark by Mr. G. A. Goyder, Superintendent of the Crown Lands Laboratory at Adelaide. The localities are all South Australian.

                               
Locality where grown, elevation, &c.  Character of soil upon which grown.  Age of tree.  Weight of bark from each tree.  Thickness of bark.  Portion of tree from which taken.  Percentage of tannin.  Total extractive matter. 
Government Farm—  Yrs.  lbs.  in. 
Belair, elevation 1,000 ft.  Sandy loam, with clay sub-soil  45  0·22  trunk wood and bark of twigs.  34·0  55·3 
Belair, elevation 1,000 ft.  Sandy loam, with clay sub-soil  —  —  5·1  20·5 
Torrens Island— 
Almost sea-level  Deep sandy soil  38  0·23  Trunk  25·2  46·5 
Almost sea-level  Deep sandy soil  —  0·04  Twigs  21·7  40·8 
Bundaleer Forest— 
Elevation, 1,800 ft.  Ferruginous loam, with clay sub-soil  128  0·20  Trunk  31·4  49·9 
Elevation, 1,800 ft.  Ferruginous loam, with clay sub-soil  —  0·05  Twigs  22·3  45·6 
Semaphore— 
20 ft. above sea-level  Deep sand  Abt. 30  307  0·18  Trunk  25·8  42·6 
Brighton— 
20 ft. to 30 ft. above sea-level  Clay soil  —  0·21  Trunk  28·7  53·4 
20 ft. to 30 ft. above sea-level  Clay soil  —  0·03  Twigs  25·3  41·6 
Mount Gambier  Calcareous sand  —  0·13  Trunk  31·7  52·0 

I am of opinion that these analyses rather under-rate the value of Acacia pycnantha bark, but this is of course erring in the right direction.

Mr. J. E. Brown, of South Australia, who is probably the greatest expert on wattle cultivation that we have, has gone in for this species very largely in districts found suitable for it, and his general remarks on wattle cultivation (ante) were chiefly written with this species in view.

“Except in very dry localities, this species is common to nearly all districts of South Australia north of Encounter Bay, and is occasionally to be met with along the coast from Kingston to the Glenelg River. Its principal habitat, however, and the one where the thoroughly typical botanical form


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and the largest trees of the species are found, is in the Adelaide hills and plains, from Encounter Bay to Clare. For propagation purposes seed should, if possible, be obtained from trees grown within these limits. In some parts of the north of the Colony there is a narrow-leaved variety, with the stem and branches covered with a whitish substance, which is desirable should not be propagated, as the tree is of slow growth, and does not attain payable dimensions.” (J. E. Brown. Reports.)

Average height of typical form 20 to 25 ft., and diam. 6 to 10 in. (Brown.)

Mr. Brown gives the life of this tree at from ten to twelve years, and states that it may be stripped from the sixth to the ninth year, according to circumstances. It lives longer in sandy soils than in clay ones.

Mr. G. S. Perrin summarises the advantages of this species over A. decurrens by stating that the former species is more amenable to culture, and can be pruned to a better shape, occupies less space in the plantation, and is much better stripped.

Baron Mueller (Select Extra-tropical Plants) says:—“This tree, which attains a maximum height of about 30 feet, is second perhaps only to A. decurrens in importance for its yield of tanners' bark; the quality of the latter is even sometimes superior to that of the black wattle (A. mollissima), but its yield is less, as the tree is smaller and the bark thinner. It is of rapid growth, content with almost any soil, but is generally found in poor sandy ground near the sea-coast, and thus also important for binding rolling sand.”

In an earlier portion of this work I have gone into the question of soil, &c. Generally speaking, it loves a warm climate, with only a moderate rainfall. It therefore will not usually flourish at elevations over 2,000 ft.

I have already dealt with the matter of localities. It is essentially a South Australian species, though it extends into both Victoria and New South Wales.

14. Acacia amæna, Wendl., B.Fl., ii., 366.

This tall shrub yields a good bark, which would be valuable if it were of large size. As it is, the dried bark is of the size of cassia-bark or coarse cinnamon. It is smooth, and yields a pale-coloured, rather fibrous powder. A sample from Tantawanglo Mountain, near Candelo, N.S.W., from shrubs 8 to 12 feet high, with a diameter of 2 to 4 inches, and grown in granite soil, afforded 45·85 per cent. of extract and 23·5 per cent. of tannic acid. It was collected July, 1889, and analysed April, 1890.

Found in New South Wales and Victoria; a coast and mountain species. Its most northern limit in the former Colony appears to be the Moruya District.

15. Acacia salicina, Lindl., B.Fl., ii., 367. “COOBA,” or “KOUBAH.” “NATIVE WILLOW.” “MOTHERUMBA.”

Following is a condensed account of the analyses of two specimens of this bark recorded by me in Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1888, 268:—

a. Tarella, Wilcannia.—Height, 20 to 25 feet; diameter, 12 to 18 inches. Collected August, 1887; analysed August, 1888. A coarse, flaky bark, not so fibrous, more compact, and altogether more promising looking than most of the dry-country barks. Average thickness, up to ¾ inch. Extract, 35·28 per cent.; tannic acid, 13·21 per cent.




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b. Momba, Wilcannia.—Height, 30 to 40 feet; diameter, 12 to 18 inches. Collected August, 1817; analysed September, 1888. Not flaky on the outside like No. 1, but a harder, bonier bark, more rugged, but obviously a promising bark. Thickness, up to 1 inch. Extract, 33·1 per cent.; tannic acid, 13·51 per cent.

A sample of this bark, from the Lachlan River, New South Wales, viâ Hay, which has been in the Technological Museum 5 years, is a good specimen of this bark, being fairly smooth, close, compact, and containing comparatively little fibre. It was analyzed May, 1890, and found to contain 32·75 per cent. of extract, and 15·1 per cent. of tannic acid.

This species is undoubtedly worthy of conservation, and even culture, in the dry interior when it is found, particularly as the barks there are usually so poor in tannic acid. The blacks are aware of the value of this tan-bark, as they use it for tanning wallaby and other skins.

An interior species, found in all the colonies except Tasmania. Habitat, chiefly on banks of creeks and water-courses.

16. Acacia prominens, A. Cunn., B.Fl., ii., 371. Reduced by Baron von Mueller to a variety of A. linifolia, Willd.

This is called “Grey” and “Black Wattle” near Sydney, but dealers will not have it, and it hardly pays to cut up and pass with better bark. A sample of a black bark, stained, leopard-like, with whity-green patches, and bearing lichens, yielded the writer 18·03 per cent. of tannic acid, and 42·35 per cent. of extract. It was from Penrith, N.S.W.

A sample from Penshurst, Illawarra line, near Sydney, gave the author (Proc., R.S., N.S.W., 1888, p. 269) 39·98 per cent. of extract, and 14·42 of tannic acid. Height of tree, 10 to 15 feet; diameter, 1½ to 2 inches; collected September, 1887; analysed August, 1888. A light-coloured bark, very thin, of the thickness of stout brown paper, and reminding one strongly of that of A. longifolia. As this was but from a sapling, the Penrith bark gives a fairer criterion of the value of bark of this species.

Found in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. On the Snowy Mountains it occurs at elevations from 4,000 to 5,000 feet. It is an eastern species, found principally in the coast districts.

17. Acacia podalyriæfolia, A. Cunn., B.Fl., ii., 374. Sometimes called “SILVER WATTLE.”

The bark is used in tanning, giving a light colour to leather. The following analysis is given by the Queensland Commissioners, Colonial and Indian Exhibition, 1886:—Tannin, 12·40 per cent.; extract, 29·50 per cent. (Bailey).

Northern New South Wales and Queensland.

18. Acacia vestita, Ker, B.Fl., ii., 375.

Bark from near Bombala, N.S.W., yielded the author 50·82 per cent. of extract, and 27·96 per cent. of tannic acid (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1887, p. 89).

It grew on limestone country, and was from a tree 18 inches in diameter. Analysis of a second sample from the same district gave an even better result, viz.:—64·51 per cent. of extract, and 33·2 per cent. of tannic acid. This is very similar in appearance to the bark of A. decurrens, for which it might be substituted without detriment. It is a most useful bark, but,


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unfortunately, not of wide distribution. It is at the same time one of the most beautiful of wattles, and therefore I feel the responsibility of pointing it out as a fit subject for the bark-stripper.

Southern New South Wales and Northern Victoria.—It is a highland species in the Monaro, N.S.W., and there very rare.

19. Acacia pravissima, F. v. M., B.Fl., ii., 375.

This tall shrub has a thin, dark-grey to blackish bark, which yields a light-coloured powder, containing an unusually small proportion of fibre. But the expense of stripping it would bar its use practically, even if the percentage of tannic acid caused it to be a temptation to the stripper. A sample from Jindabyne, Snowy River, collected January, 1890, and analysed the following April, gave extract 31·75 per cent., and tannic acid 10·66 per cent. It was grown on granite soil, and was from shrubs 8 to 12 feet in height, and having a diameter of 1 to 3 inches.

Southern New South Wales and Victoria.—A highland species, found on the banks of the Snowy River.

20. Acacia subporosa, F. v. M. (supporosa in Muell., Fragm. iv, 5) B.Fl., ii., 382. “RIVER WATTLE.”

A sample of bark from a Victorian locality yielded Baron Mueller 6·6 per cent. of tannic acid and 1·2 per cent. of gallic acid. (Cat. Technological Museum, Melbourne).

A sample from Colombo, Candelo, N.S.W., was collected in June, 1889, and analysed by me April, 1890. It is a smooth, thin, fibrous, light-coloured bark, strongly resembling that of A. longifolia. It is from trees 20 to 30 feet in height, and with diameters of 6 to 15 inches. It was grown in granite country. My analysis gave 22·55 per cent. of extract, and 6·6 per cent. of tannic acid, peculiarly coincident with the determination already given. I may mention that I have made determinations of gallic acid and impurities in all my analyses, and I shall be happy to give particulars in the case of individual barks to anyone who applies for them. They are not of sufficient practical importance to Australian tanners to print here. In this particular instance my determination of gallic acid was 1·16 per cent.

Found in coast districts in New South Wales and Victoria, on the banks of creeks and rivers. Its most northern extension for New South Wales appears to be the Shoalhaven River.

21. Acacia homalophylla, A. Cunn., B. Fl., ii., 383. “CURLY or NARROW-LEAVED YARRAN.” A “Myall.” Called also “Gidgee.”

A specimen of this bark gave the following result:—Extract, 21·51 per cent., and tannic acid 9·06 per cent. (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1887, p. 189).

It was from an old tree, full of flakes, and could be pulled to pieces with the fingers. A dry-country bark, but hardly a fair specimen of that. Found in the interior of South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland.

22. Acacia pendula, A. Cunn., B. Fl., ii., 383. “BASTARD GIDGEE” or “NILYAH.” Usually known as “Myall.”

A sample of this bark from Yandarlo, Wilcannia, afforded the author (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1888, p. 269) 14·52 per cent. of extract, and 3·25 per cent. of tannic acid. Height of tree, 10 to 12 feet; diameter, 4 to 6 inches;


  ― 25 ―
collected September, 1887; analysed August, 1888. A typical representative of the dry-country wattle-barks. It seems to consist of nothing but flakes and layers of fibre.

An inland and desert species of New South Wales and Queensland.

22a. Acacia pendula, var. glabrata. A “YARRAN.”

Bark from this variety, obtained from near Hay, N.S.W., yielded the author 17·91 per cent. of extract, and 7·15 per cent. of tannic acid. Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1887, p. 89).

A moderately deeply fissured bark from rather an old tree, containing abundance of poor fibre. A dry-country wattle, and apparently of no promise.

23. Acacia Oswaldi, F. v. M., B. Fl., ii., 384. “MILJEE.” “KARAGATA.” Often called “Umbrella bush,” as it is a capital shade tree.

The bark from an oldish tree has been examined by the author, with the following result:—Extract, 20·7 per cent.; tannic acid, 9·72 per cent. This much resembled the sample of A. homalophylla bark. (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1887, p. 189).

In all the colonies except Tasmania; an inland desert species.

24. Acacia stenophylla, A. Cunn., B.Fl., ii., 385.

A sample of bark from this wattle, obtained from Yantara, Milparinka, N.S.W., gave the author (Proc. R. S., N.S.W., 1888, p. 270), 24·46 per cent. of extract, and 9·49 per cent. of tannic acid. Height of tree 15 to 20 feet, diameter 6 to 12 inches.; collected, November, 1887; analysed, September, 1888. A rugged-looking, coarsely fissured bark, possessing the characteristic appearance of those of the dry country wattles. Average thickness, ? in.

A dry-country species, found in all the colonies except Tasmania.

25. Acacia melanoxylon, R.Br., B.Fl., ii., 388. The “BLACKWOOD,” but also variously known as “Lightwood,” “Black Sally,” “Hickory,” “Silver Wattle.”

The bark of this highly valuable timber has usually gone to waste, after the wood has been obtained from the logs. The bark is, however, rich in tannic acid, and ought not to be left unutilised, though no trees of this species should be sacrificed for the sake of their bark alone. (Mueller.) A sample of bark from Monga, near Braidwood, N.S.W., yielded the author 20·63 per cent. of extract, and 11·12 per cent. of tannic acid. (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1887, p. 31) It was apparently from an old tree, of a dirty brown colour, with whitish patches, giving the whole a silvery appearance; has irregular vertical fissures, and this circumstance, with the small horizontal cracks, causes the outer bark to be readily detached in small flakes. The inner bark or bast is very strong, and would form an excellent coarse tying material for local use.

All the colonies, except Western Australia and Queensland; chiefly a highland and mountain species, but also on the coast. As far as I know, it does not extend further north in New South Wales than the Illawarra Range, but it is not found of any size further north than Bonang (near Victorian border); at all events, in accessible localities.




  ― 26 ―

26. Acacia implexa, Benth., B.Fl., ii., 389.

I have analysed a sample of this bark (Proc., R.S., N.S.W., 1888, p. 270). It gave 20·54 per cent. of extract, and 7·82 per cent. of tannic acid. It is slightly bitter to the taste, but this sample is from an old cultivated tree, and the bitterness is less noticeable; hoary-looking, in layers and flakes; average thickness, ¼ in.

Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland; chiefly a coast species, and on eastern mountain slopes.

27. Acacia harpophylla, F.v.M., B.Fl., ii., 389. The common “BRIGALOW;” so called because it forms the scrubs of that name; the meaning of the word is unknown.

This tree is said to yield a considerable amount of tan-bark. Central Queensland.

28. Acacia binervata, DC., B.Fl., ii., 390. “BLACK WATTLE” or “HICKORY.” “Myimbarr” of the aboriginals of Illawarra (New South Wales).

The bark is used by tanners, though it is not so rich as that of A. decurrens. (W. Dovegrove.) Nevertheless, it is a valuable bark; specimens from Cambewarra, N.S.W., yielded the author up to 58·03 per cent. of extract, and 30·4 per cent. of tannic acid. The colour of this sample was dark brown; the inner bark warm red-brown; the outer bark deeply fissured or flaky, which makes it more or less pulverulent; the inner bark contains abundance of strong fibre; diameter, 12 inches; height, 20 to 25 feet; locally called “Black Wattle.” (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1887, p. 90.)

A second sample from the same locality gave 28·2 per cent. of tannic acid, and yielded 51·5 per cent. of extract.

Additional samples of barks of this species are desired.

I have examined a specimen from Tomerong, near Jervis Bay, N.S.W. (between Nowra and Milton), which was collected February, 1888, and analysed the following September (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1888, p. 273). As received, it had had its first crushing in the mill, nevertheless it was possible to pick samples showing a fair proportion of inner and outer bark. The outer bark is somewhat scaly, and the inner bark is light reddish-brown and very fibrous. It cannot be mistaken for A. decurrens bark owing to its fibrous nature. It gave extract 37·8 per cent.; tannic acid, 19·3 per cent.

This sample was taken from bulk actually used by a tanner, and it will be found, in general, that barks containing 20 per cent. of tannic acid are commonly used by country tanners; in fact, if bark of a species gives as high as 15 per cent. of tannic acid, it is worthy of enquiry whether richer specimens are available.

This is a coast species of New South Wales and Queensland. It does not extend further south in our Colony than the Ulladulla District.

29. Acacia flavescens, A. Cunn., B.Fl., ii., 391.

This bark contains 10·2 per cent. of tannin. (Staiger.) Queensland.

30. Acacia longifolia, Willd., B.Fl., ii., 397. “GOLDEN WATTLE,” “WHITE SALLOW,” “SALLY,” “HICKORY,” &c.

The bark of this tree is considered in Queensland to be only half as good as that of A. decurrens. It is used chiefly for sheepskins. The following is an analysis of this bark:—Tannin, 12·67 per cent.; extract, 32·05 per cent.


  ― 27 ―
(Staiger.) A specimen from Cambewarra, N.S.W., yielded the author 30·55 per cent. of extract, and 18·93 per cent. of tannic acid. (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1877, p. 90.) Other specimens (a) from Oatley's grant, near Sydney, and (b) Ryde, near Sydney, yielded the author (loc. cit., p. 190), 24·91 and 23·53 per cent. of extract respectively, and 15·34 and 15·99 per cent. of tannic acid respectively. Both were from much younger trees than the specimens from Cambewarra.

Speaking generally, this is a smoothish, thin, sub-scaly bark, not in high repute. It yields a light-coloured powder.

A sample from Tantawanglo Mountain, near Candelo, N.S.W., and locally known as “Hickory,” was examined by the author, and found to contain 5 per cent. of tannic acid, and only 14 per cent. of extract. It was collected in July, 1889, and analysed in April, 1890. It was from trees 20 to 50 feet high, with diameters of 4 to 12 inches, growing on chocolate soil. The trees of this species attain rather large dimensions in this district. The bark becomes coarser and larger, but it is one mass of fibre, and practically useless to the tanner.

South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, Southern Queensland.

30a. The bark of the variety Sophorœ is used for tanning light skins in Queensland, but as it is comparatively weak in tannin it fetches but a low price. It is there called “Black Wattle.” (Bailey.) Mr. W. Adam informs me that Sydney fishermen often tan their sails and nets with this bark, and are well pleased with it, the articles being pliable after use.

30b. A second variety of A. longifolia, viz., floribunda, obtained from Cambewarra in August, 1886, yielded the following result in April, 1890:—Tannic acid, 6·09 per cent.; extract, 14·95 per cent. It was from trees 20 to 50 feet high, locally known as “Sally,” or “Sallow.” The bark is very like that of the normal species, but from an older tree, and also full of fibre. A specimen of “Sally” from Bolong Swamp, Nowra, collected in July, 1888, and analysed also in April, 1890, gave only 2·54 per cent. of tannic acid, with 13·07 per cent. of extract. It is a useless, fibrous bark, yielding a substance like chopped grass when passed through the mill. It was from trees 20 to 40 feet high, with diameter of 6 to 18 inches, and grown on alluvial soil, which the species in general usually favours.

31. Acacia aneura, F. v. M., B.Fl., ii, 402. “MULGA.” The chief ingredient of Mulga scrub, so called from the Mulga, or long, narrow shield of wood made by the aboriginals out of Acacia wood.

A specimen of the bark of this tree from Ivanhoe, N.S.W., yielded the author 10 per cent. of extract, and 4·78 per cent. of tannic acid. A narrow-leaved variety from the same neighbourhood yielded 20·72 per cent. of extract, and 8·62 per cent. of tannic acid. The former is a deeply-furrowed, flaky, pulverulent bark, apparently from an old tree; average thickness, ? inch. The bark of the narrow-leaved variety is a thin, poor bark, not exceeding 3/16 inch in thickness, moderately fissured, of a dark grey colour, sometimes nearly black. (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1887, p. 32.)




  ― 28 ―

A second sample of the normal species gave the author (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1888, p. 271) 12·12 per cent. of extract, and 2·32 per cent. of tannic acid. It was from Tarella, Wilcannia; collected August, 1887; analysed August, 1888. A useless, flaky, dry-country bark.

An inland, desert species, found in all the colonies except Tasmania.

32. Acacia glaucescens, Willd., B.Fl., ii., 91. A “MYALL” and “BOREE” of Southern N.S.W. Called also “BRIGALOW,” “ROSEWOOD,” &c. Called “BLACK WATTLE,” at Mount Victoria.

Bark from near Bombala, N.S.W., yielded the author 14·29 per cent. of extract, and 8·10 per cent. of tannic acid. (Proc., R.S., N.S.W., 1887, p. 91.) It was locally termed “Myall,” and was grown on limestone. Height, 20 to 25 feet; diameter, 6 to 12 inches. A deeply fissured bark of a dark grey colour. I would like to get better samples of this bark.

From Victoria to Queensland; a favourite situation being high river banks amongst rocks.

33. Acacia Cunninghamii, Hook., B.Fl., ii., 407. “BLACK WATTLE.” “BASTARD MYALL” of Northern New South Wales. “Kowarkul” of the Queensland aboriginals.

The following is an analysis of this bark:—Tannin, 9·13 per cent.; extract, 16·15 per cent. (Queensland Comm., Col. and Indian Exh., 1886.)

About Drake, N.S.W., this is a middle-sized tree, having a maximum trunk-diameter of 1 foot. It grows in abundance on the ridges in granite and dioritic soil.

Central New South Wales to Central Queensland.

34. Acacia leptocarpa, A. Cunn.; B.Fl., ii., 407.

The following is an analysis of this bark:—Tannin, 10·20 per cent.; extract, 26·41 per cent. (Staiger.)

Queensland.

35. Acacia polystachya, A. Cunn., B.Fl., ii., 407.

This bark contains 7·59 per cent. of tannin. (Staiger.) Queensland and Northern Australia.

36. Acacia aulacocarpa, A. Cunn., B.Fl., ii., 410. “HICKORY WATTLE.” (Bailey.) “Dilka” of the Port Curtis blacks. (Hedley.)

This tree yields a tan-bark, used in Queensland to some extent. Central and Northern Queensland.

37. Acacia elata, A. Cunn., B.Fl., ii., 413. A “MOUNTAIN HICKORY.”

A specimen of bark of this tree was analysed by the author (Proc., R.S., N.S.W., 1888, p. 271), and yielded 36·2 per cent. of extract, and 20·11 per cent. of tannic acid. Height, 50 ft.; diameter, 8 inches. Flaky and somewhat rugged on the outside, but usually blackish and stained with lichens on account of its habitat (gullies). This bark reminds one of that of A.


  ― 29 ―
decurrens when young. This is a tree of very local distribution (Blue Mountains, N.S.W.), and were it more abundant it would come into notice as a tanner's bark, since the sample examined was hardly up to the average quality obtainable.

Two samples of this bark were received at the Technological Museum, May, 1890, from Kanimbla Valley, Blue Mountains; one from a large tree 30 to 50 ft. high, diameter, 15 in.; the other from a small tree.

The bark of the larger tree contained much scaly material on the outside of a dark brown colour, which, being deficient in tannic acid, detracts from the value of this bark.

The thickness of this bark is 1 inch, half of which represents the inner bark, which is fibrous, very astringent, and of a light colour. Analysis of this bark (a fair section of the outer and inner barks being taken) was made in June, 1890, and found to contain 51·15 per cent. of extract and 28·5 per cent. of tannic acid. The liquor is of too dark a colour to be first-class, but would be improved by removing the outer scaly bark before grinding if that were possible.

The bark from the younger tree was solid, slightly scaly on the outside, and ¼ inch in thickness. When powdered, it was hardly to be distinguished from some specimens of decurrens bark, being light coloured, and altogether a promising bark. Analysis shows this to contain 55·35 per cent. of extract, and 31·1 per cent. of tannic acid.

38. Acacia pruinosa, A. Cunn., B.Fl., ii., 413.

A sample obtained, May, 1890, from Kineumber, near Gosford, New South Wales, from a largish tree, was barely ? inch thick when green, and this, of course, would diminish on drying; this specimen was analyzed June, 1890, and was found to contain 49·75 per cent. of extract, and 24·25 per cent. of tannic acid, so that it is not a worthless species as is often supposed. It would come in Class B. This yields a thin greyish bark, containing little fibre; it powders well, and might easily be mistaken for a bark of superior quality. The yield would not be large even from good sized trees, as the bark is too thin.

This wattle is abundant in the neighbourhood of Gosford, N.S.W., where it attains a large size. It is, however, rather weak in tannic acid, and a mill may be seen falling into decay, because after the plant was erected the owner found that the bark would not pay to convey far. From superficial knowledge he might have jumped to the conclusion that the tree was A. decurrens, but the fact remains that a man was foolish enough to expend a fair amount of capital without taking the trouble to make sure he had suitable bark.

New South Wales and Queensland. Its southern limit appears to be the Brogo River, near Bega.

39. Acacia decurrens, Willd., B.Fl., ii., 214. “BLACK WATTLE”; called also “GREEN and FEATHERY WATTLE.” Called “SYDNEY WATTLE” by Baron Mueller. Formerly the “Wat-tah” of the aboriginals of the counties of Cumberland and Camden, N.S.W. (Macarthur.)

The following analysis of this bark was given by the Queensland Commissioners at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886: Tannin, 15·08 per cent.; extract, 26·78 per cent. This bark becomes undoubtedly inferior in the warmer climate of Queensland.




  ― 30 ―

This species flowers in the early spring, whereas A. mollissima (which it closely resembles), flowers in midsummer. A black bark, slightly rugged, from Mulgoa, Penrith, gave me 35·56 per cent. of tannic acid, and 59·2 per cent of extract. It was known locally as “Green Wattle.”

A specimen from Ryde, near Sydney, yielded the author 48·74 per cent. of extract, and 32·33 per cent. of tannic acid. (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1887, p. 93.)

A sample from Cambewarra, N.S.W., from trees 20 to 30 feet in height, and 6 to 8 inches in diameter, gathered in August, 1886, was found to contain 52·16 per cent. of extract, and 32·08 per cent. of tannic acid. (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1887, p. 33.) A bark grown in the same neighbourhood, and analysed in April, 1890, gave 47·1 per cent. of extract, but only 24·13 per cent. of tannic acid. It is a smooth bark, but from a young tree, being only ? of an inch thick, and rather fibrous. Had this bark been allowed to remain on the tree a couple of years longer, I feel sure that the percentage of tannic acid would have much increased.

A sample from Nerriga (on the high table-land from Nowra to Braidwood, N.S.W.) was analysed by the author, and gave the excellent result of 36·3 per cent. of tannic acid, with 62·54 per cent. of extract. (Proc. R.S., N.S.W., 1888, p. 271.) Height of tree, 15 to 20 feet; diameter, 8 to 12 inches. It was stripped in January, and analysed the following August. This is the best sample of A. decurrens bark which has hitherto been examined by me.

A second sample from the same district yielded 31·75 per cent. of tannic acid, and 62·35 per cent. of extract; while a third sample gave 29·25 per cent of tannic acid, and 59 per cent. of extract. A fourth gave 24·99 per cent of tannic acid, and 53·96 per cent. of extract.

Mr. Thomas Shepherd, an enterprising tanner of Cambewarra, N.S.W., has kindly furnished me with the following information in sending the first sample from Nerriga. Of all New South Wales localities he prefers Nerriga for A. decurrens bark. He says it would be quite equal to Tasmanian if it could be obtained as finely ground. From Cambewarra bark Mr. Shepherd obtains only two liquors, of which the second is very weak, while from the Nerriga bark he invariably obtains three strong liquors. In his opinion the best time for stripping is when the trees are in bud, and have just come into flower. Next to the Nerriga bark he speaks highest of that coming from the Bega District.

Mr. Shepherd remarks that if the hides be tanned too hard, part of the tannin could be removed and the hides rendered softer. A. binervata bark permits this but not A. decurrens.

A. decurrens is an important tan-bark in most of the colonies, and as the tree grows in the poorest soils, every encouragement should be given to its cultivation. This wattle and the South Australian A. pycnantha will supplement each other, this wattle flourishing in situations too damp and cold for the latter. A. decurrens and A. mollissima are at present abundant on some Crown and other lands in various districts of the Colony, where thousands, and perhaps millions, of seedlings may be sometimes seen, forming a dense useless brush, liable to destruction by bush fires. In these localities we do not require to sow seed, but to use the tomahawk. Thin out freely, to admit light and air to the most promising seedlings, and they will have some chance of forming trees capable of carrying a merchantable amount of bark.




  ― 31 ―

Mr. J. E. Brown states that in South Australia this species is much less hardy than A. pycnantha. Baron Mueller recommends planting of A. decurrens in worn-out lands over-run with sorrel. It is fond of moisture, and not of too much heat. The Baron also gives its rate of growth as about 1 in. in diameter every year. Mr. J. E. Brown mentions some trees in South Australia 30 feet high and 8 inches in diameter, only 5 years of age, and I can record similar experience near Sydney, and in New South Wales at least, it is a very hardy species. It is rather liable to attacks by borers; it would be interesting to enquire whether to a greater extent than A. mollissima.

This Acacia is being grown successfully on a somewhat extensive scale at Coonoor, in India. It thrives pretty well at Ootacamund, but does not bear fruit there.

North-eastern Victoria, New South Wales, and Southern Queensland; a coast, highland, and mountain species, not extending far inland.

40. Acacia mollissima, Willd., syn. A. decurrens, var.: mollis. B.Fl., ii., 415. “Black Wattle” of the older New South Wales colonists, and commonly so called in Victoria and Tasmania, but now usually called “Green Wattle” in New South Wales, and sometimes “Silver Wattle.” “Garrong” of some aboriginals of Victoria, and “Warraworup” by those at the aboriginal station, Coranderrk.

“The bark, rich in tannin, renders this tree highly important. It varies, so far as my experiments have shown, in its tannin, from 30 to 54 per cent. (sic) in bark artificially dried. In commercial bark the percentage is somewhat less, according to the state of its dryness—it retains about 10 per cent. of moisture. 1½lb. of black-wattle bark gives 1 lb. of leather, whereas 5 lb. of English oak bark are requisite for the same results; but the tanning principle of both is not absolutely identical. Melbourne tanners consider a ton of black wattle-bark sufficient to tan twenty-five to thirty hides; it is best adapted for sole leather, and other so-called heavy goods. The leather is fully as durable as that tanned with oak bark, and nearly as good in colour. Bark carefully stored for a season improves in tanning power 10 to 15 per cent.note From experiments made it appears that no appreciable difference exists in the percentage of tannin in wattle-barks, whether obtained in the dry or in the wet season. Full-grown trees, which supply also the best quality, yield as much as 1 cwt. of bark. Mr. Dickinson states that he has seen 10 cwt. of bark obtained from a single tree of gigantic dimensions at Southport, Queensland. A quarter of a ton of bark was obtained from one tree at Tambo, Queensland, without stripping all the limbs. The height of this tree was 60 feet, and the stem 2 feet in diameter. The rate of growth is about 1 inch in diameter of stem annually. It is content with the poorest and driest, or sandy soils, although in more fertile ground its growth is more rapid. (Mueller, Select Extra-tropical Plants.)

Near Sydney this species flowers about Christmas, while A. decurrens flowers in the early spring (August). A sample of a smooth green bark from a young tree afforded me 33·5 per cent. of tannic acid, and 61·85 percent.


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of extract, while a second sample, from an older tree, gave 35·3 per cent of tannic acid, and 59·05 per cent. of extract. Both were grown near Penrith, New South Wales.

I have examined a sample of bark of this species, called “Green Wattle,” from Bell's Creek, Araluen, New South Wales. It was from trees 25 to 30 feet high, with diameters from 6 to 18 inches, was grown on granite soil, and was collected in November, 1888. In April, 1890, it was analysed with the following result:—Tannic acid 31·23 per cent., extract 64·15 per cent. It is a smooth compact bark, yields a light-coloured powder with some fibre, is a quarter of an inch thick, and is to be ranked with the best of our New South Wales barks.

A specimen bearing the same local name, and grown at Tombong, Snowy River, New South Wales, was collected in March, 1889. It was obtained from trees 20 to 33 feet high, and with diameters 6 to 15 inches, and was grown in granite country. It yielded (April, 1890) 24·63 per cent. of tannic acid, with 45·8 per cent. of extract. This sample is hardly fair to the species. It is rather thin, rugged, covered with lichens, and rather more fibrous than the generality of A. mollissima barks. In spite of the badly selected sample, the analysis shows that it is full of promise.

A specimen of wattle-bark was received in this Museum in the year 1883 from a South Australian firm, labelled A. dealbata, Mount Crawford District, South Australia, containing 29·25 per cent. of tannic acid, according to an analysis by Mr. Thomas, of Adelaide. Now A. dealbata is not found in that Colony, and I scarcely hesitate to place the bark under A. mollissima. I analysed this bark in April, 1890, and found it to contain 30·73 per cent. of tannic acid, with 55·5 per cent. of extract. Doubtless a portion of this percentage is owing to careful storage during seven years. It is a solid bark, a little scaly on the outside, and very much like A. mollissima, or A. decurrens bark in appearance. Thickness, 5/16-inch. It yields a good powder, with but little fibre.

A sample of this bark, received May, 1890, and analysed the following month, was found to contain 34·85 per cent. of tannic acid and 61·5 of extract. It came from Burragorang, New South Wales. It is thicker than most barks of this species, and is beginning to be scaly on the outside. Were it not for that defect it would be a splendid bark. It was allowed to remain a year too long on the tree, a fault not usually to be found with New South Wales bark getters.

Found in all the colonies except Western Australia; a coast, highland, and mountain species, not extending far inland.

40A. Acacia mollissima,—var. Leichhardtii, F. v. M.

The bark of this variety is used by the local tanners, and is spoken of fairly well as regards percentage of tannin, but is not much liked on account of its being considered too hard and fibrous, and therefore difficult to break up in the mill.

It is a common belief amongst tanners (and at present I am not prepared to say what basis of truth it has) that barks much subjected to frost and snow are much richer in tannin than those not so subjected. The present sample is from a tree grown in a very cold district. It was collected


  ― 33 ―
October, 1888, at Monga, from trees 20 to 25 feet high, and 6 to 18 inches in diameter, growing on granite soil. Thickness of bark, about 3/16-inch. A smoothish bark of a light colour, but forming a rather fibrous powder. It was analysed April, 1890, and found to contain 26·4 per cent. of tannic acid, and 45·25 per cent. of extract.

This variety appears to be confined to New South Wales. It is found in the Monaro and Braidwood Districts, also in the Jingera Mountains.

41. Acacia dealbata, Link., B.Fl., iii., 415. “SILVER WATTLE.”

Some specimens from Quiedong, Bombala, N.S.W., yielded the author 39·86 per cent. of extract and 21·22 per cent. of tannic acid. They were from trees 12 to 18 inches in diameter, and 20 to 30 feet high, and were grown on limestone country (Proc., R. S., N.S.W., 1887, p. 92). A second sample from the same district gave 39·3 per cent. of extract and 17·1 per cent. of tannic acid. These samples bear a general appearance to A. decurrens bark, but they are much more rugged, and apparently from an old tree. The barks form a rather fibrous powder. The whitish external layer common in this species is almost absent.

I have examined a sample from the Delegate River, N.S.W., where the trees are growing in the brush (rich jungle), in chocolate soil, attaining a height of 60 to 100 feet, with a diameter of 1 to 2 feet. Bark collected in April, 1889, yielded the following April:—25·9 per cent. of tannic acid and 45·7 per cent of extract. This has the general appearance of A. decurrens bark, but is in layers, separable with a little difficulty, more fibrous, and has the appearance of having been dusted on the outside with a white powder. This whitish appearance does not rub off, and the stem looks as if it had had a coat of lime wash.

There is great prejudice against this wattle in most of the colonies, yet analyses show that it is not to be despised. A perfectly smooth, thin, silvery or ash-grey bark, from near Penrith, N.S.W., gave me 24·13 per cent. of tannic acid, and 47·85 per cent. of extract.

“Silver Wattle” bark may be assumed to contain about 25 per cent. of tannic acid in the best samples.

In Tasmania it has often been recommended the destruction of these trees in order to let A. mollissima grow, and this advice is probably sound, but only in cases in which one or other has to be sacrificed.

“The bark of this tree is thinner and inferior to the Black Wattle (A. mollissima) in quality. It is chiefly employed for lighter leather. This tree is distinguished from the Black Wattle by the silvery, or, rather, ashy hue of its young foliage. It flowers early in spring, ripening its seed in about five months, while the Black Wattle blossoms late in spring, or at the beginning of summer, and its seeds do not mature before about fourteen months.” (Mueller.)

I think I have adduced sufficient evidence to convince intelligent people that the bark is by no means a worthless one, and barks inferior even to this are locally used in districts not favoured with the alternative of the use of such barks as mollissima and decurrens. I hope that barks will be tried on their merits, and not be condemned without trial.




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In insisting on the general principle of assay of barks, just as a man engaged in the mining industry is always careful to sample his stone as occasions require, I am quite aware of the special circumstances of Tasmania as regards the “Silver Wattle,” and that the case in that Colony against this particular species is stronger than it is in our own. In Tasmania the silver wattle grows more in spars than with us; its bark has a more than ordinary tendency to shrink; it is tough and fibrous (though not to such an extent as A. binervata, for instance). As wattles take longer to mature in Tasmania than with us, it will be quite understood that I am in no way reflecting on the wisdom of the advice of letting the cultivation of the best species remain unimpeded.

This species is found in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. It is chiefly a mountain species, and does not extend far inland.

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