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Volume 11 of the Flora of Australia contains the genus Acacia, in the family Mimosaceae. It is the work of 40 authors, illustrators and photographers. The volume is divided into two parts: volume 11A provides introductory essays and descriptions of the first 462 species in the genus, while volume 11B describes the remaining 493 species.
Wattles are found in all terrestrial habitats, from rainforests to alpine communities, in grasslands, coastal sanddunes, deserts, forests and woodlands. In size they range from prostrate, mat-like subshrubs to tall forest trees. They are frequently major components of the understorey of drier forests and woodlands, but in other habitats can be the dominant species, as, for example, in the Brigalow of Queensland, the Myall woodlands of inland eastern Australia or the Mulga woodlands of eremaean areas.
As might be expected, such a large genus has provided many useful products. For aboriginal people wattles have provided timber for implements, weapons and fuel, gums, edible seed, and musical instruments. A substantial industry has been built on the attractive timbers derived from many species, but particularly Blackwood and Mulga. Other species, particularly Black Wattle, have provided the backbone of the tan bark industry in Australia and abroad. In the last decade, a number of Australian Acacia species, especially those from eremaean and monsoonal areas, have been investigated and cultivated in a number of countries for a range of products: fuel wood, wood pulp for paper manufacture, and as a source of edible seeds. Many other species are important in horticulture, in land management, and reafforestation.
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