Curara (Acacia tetragonophylla) in the Western Australian rangelands

Page last updated: Wednesday, 14 July 2021 - 10:54am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Curara (Acacia tetragonophylla) is one of many plant species found in the Western Australian rangelands.

This page provides a summary of the plant's value for pastoralism. Pastoral lessees and station managers can use this information to assess pasture condition and trend.

Indicator value

Where curara is grazed, it has no indicator value because it can survive heavy grazing. Changes to the density or numbers of this plant in pasture do not indicate pasture condition or trend on their own, but the numbers and density of curara plants relative to other plants, such as bluebushes, can indicate condition and trend.

Constant heavy utilisation of curara indicates that grazing pressure is too heavy.

Forage value

Curara is moderately palatable and a valued protein source in most habitats. All classes of livestock use the foliage. Silver-green curara plants on hills and skeletal soils are relatively unpalatable and are unlikely to be grazed. 

Habitat

Various soils and habitats.

General description

Curara is a shrub or small tree that may reach a height of about 4m. The hairless phyllodes have distinctive sharp points at their tips and are distributed in clusters along the grey-barked outer and younger branches.

Phyllodes are slender and needle-like, up to 3cm long and 1–1.5mm wide. Young phyllodes are pliable and soft, hardening quickly with maturity. The globular flowers are varying shades of yellow, occasionally with a touch of orange, borne on stalks up to 3cm long.

The pods are always twisted, up to 8cm long and 4–7mm wide with a constriction between each seed. As the pods mature and dry, they split open along their length, exposing seeds with an encircling orange-yellow aril.

Contact information

Kath Ryan
+61 (0)8 9166 4015
Matthew Fletcher
+61 (0)8 9166 4019