A genus of highly ornamental and decorative shrubs or trees, natives of New Holland, South America and North Africa. Most of the evergreen species came originally from Australia and are among our special favorites. All are vigorous growers and abundant bloomers. If carefully selected, they may be had in bloom every month of the year, beginning with Acacia longi-folia, which flowers in January, followed closely by the beautiful fern-leaved Acacia mollissima, with its great masses of sulphur-yellow racemes on a tree from forty to sixty feet in height, with a spread of branch as much in diameter. This stands without a rival as a flowering tree in our early Spring months.
The Acacia is a very extensive genus, the number of species being nearly four hundred. Over one hundred species have been introduced into California and almost all of them have proved to be perfectly hardy, growing freely in any soil and standing exposure to our harshest winds, while one, at least, rivals our hardiest trees in standing salt winds, growing almost within touch of salt spray on the poorest land.
Among the best of the shrubby species are Acacia armata, Acacia cultriformis, Acacia Baileyana, Acacia floribunda, Acacia lineata, Acacia longifolia, Acacia Riceana, etc., and of those which assume tree form, Acacia dealbata, Acacia decurrens, Acacia mollissima, Acacia melanoxylon and Acacia lophanta.
Acacia Baileyana, one of the earliest to bloom, opens its great bundles of yellow flowers early in January. Its silvery fern-like foliage, blending with its beautiful flowers, makes it a charming object in garden or shrubbery. It grows to the height of thirty feet. Acacia mollissima blooming in February, Acacia pycnantha flowering in early Summer, Acacia cultriformis a little later and Acacia calamifolia in late Fall, make a continuous season of bloom throughout the year.
Propagate by seeds sown one-eighth of an inch deep in a cold frame or greenhouse in March; prick them out into pots or boxes when they are three inches high and plant them out in permanent quarters the following Spring.