Name: Silver Wattle (= Mimosa)
Binomial: Acacia dealbata
Family: Fabaceae

The name “Wattle,” specifically “Silver Wattle,” originated during the English convict transportation era at the end of the 18th century.

Convicts were required to build their homes using the wattle and daub method, which led to the tree’s naming.

Bark

People traditionally use the bark for tanning purposes.

Flowers

The flowers of the Silver Wattle are a source of Mimosa absolute, a flavouring agent in various foods such as baked goods, drinks, confectionery, dairy foods, and puddings.

These flowers, rich in pollen, are also used to make fritters by dipping them in a tempura-like batter and frying.

An oil extract from the Silver Wattle flowers is in high demand in the perfume industry. This extract contains numerous beneficial chemicals, including anethole, acetaldehyde, acetic acid, and various phenols. Perfumers currently use the extract in over 80 perfume varieties.

Gum/Resin

The tree produces an edible resin when its bark is wounded. The resin, or gum, is edible. Paler varieties are preferable due to their less astringent taste.

The Wiradjuri Aboriginal people in Australia, who call the tree Giigandul, consume the resin and use it in traditional remedies, including mixing it with ash for application on wounds and sores.

Aboriginal Australians traditionally notch the trunk in autumn to encourage resin flow, which forms into balls of gum. This gum is consumed as a snack, dissolved in water, or used to make sweet drinks.

Known as Kino, the gum serves as a substitute for gum arabic in the food industry, acting as a thickening agent.

Artists use the resin to create high-quality watercolour paints.

Leaves

In India, people use the leaves in sweet and acidic chutneys.

Seeds

The seed pods of Silver Wattle are processed traditionally by grinding the seeds between two stones to create flour for bread-making.

References

Eland, S. (2014). Understanding plant names. Plant Biographies.

Facciola, S. (1998). Cornucopia II: A source book of edible plants. Kampong Publications.

Fern, K. (2023). Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future.

Low, T. (1991). Wild Food Plants of Australia. Angus & Robertson.

Perriot, R., Breme, K., Meierhenrich, U. J., Carenini, E., Ferrando, G., & Baldovini, N. (2010). Chemical Composition of French Mimosa Absolute Oil. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58(3), 1844–1849.

Saunders, W. (1891). Catalogue of Economic Plants in the Collection of the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Schuler, S. (1990). Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Herbs and Spices. Simon & Schuster.

Usher, G. (1974). A dictionary of plants used by man. Constable.

Williams, A. (2008). ‎Wiradjuri Plant Use in the Murrumbidgee Catchment. Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority.

Williams, C. (2011). Medicinal Plants in Australia Volume 2: Gums, Resins, Tannin and Essential Oils. Rosenberg Publishing.