Blackwood acacia


Acacia melanoxylon


BlackwoodBlackwood acacia, or Australian blackwood, is an ever green tree introduced in forestry tests and as an ornamental. It differs from the native koa, Acacia koa, in that its “leaves” are shorter and less curved, and its pods are narrow and curved. Medium-sized tree 40 ft (12 m) high and 1 ft (0.3 m) in trunk diameter. In southeastern Australia, where it is native, this acacia is a large tree to 80—110 ft (24—30 m) in height and 2.5-4 ft (0.8—1.2 m) in diameter. This is the wood which stirred up some controversy in Hawaii recently, while being markeded under the misleading name "Koala Koa" or "Kiwi Koa". It is a beautiful wood in itself, but it is not Koa. The wood is golden brown to dark brown, some times tinged or streaked with red, with a beautiful figure very similar to koa. It is hard, moderately heavy, moderately strong and durable, works easily, turns well, and takes a high polish. The wood has been compared with black walnut, as has koa.
Known as blackwood or “hickory,” this species is one of the most ornamental Australian timbers, used principally for cabinetwork, paneling, also veneer, split staves, and furniture. Wood of five trees grown at Kokee, Kauai, was tested in 1966 and found to be similar in density and appearance to koa, but with a somewhat higher shrinkage in drying.



Blackwood tree in Polipoli, Haleakala ridge trail.



Small tree
Photos by:  Forest & Kim Starr