Pararchidendron pruinosum

Distribution Map
Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae
Distribution: Coastal areas and adjacent islands along watercourses from northern Queensland to the Illawarra district in New South Wales. Also occurs in Indonesia.
Common Name: Snow wood
Derivation of Name: Pararchidendron....from Greek para, near and dendron, a tree, referring to its resemblance to Archidendron which is an imposing tree.
prurinosum....from Latin pruriens, an itching sensation, a reference to the hairy surface of the leaves and stems.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

The genus Pararchidendron consists of a single species. Despite its relatively wide distribution, P.pruninosum is not well known even among Australian plant enthusiasts. It is closely related to Acacia, which can be seen in the similarity of the seeds which, like Acacia, are borne in pods which split when ripe.

Pararchidendron pruinosum
Pararchidendron pruinosum
Flowers (top) and the unusual, colourful seed pods (bottom) of Pararchidendron pruinosum
Photos: Brian Walters

Pararchidendron pruinosum is a usually a tree to about 15 metres. Leaves are divided into 5 to 11 leaflets each 2-8 mm wide by 15-25 mm long. The small flowers are seen in summer. They are clustered into globular heads in the leaf axils and occur on long peduncles (stalks). The colour is greenish-white, turning yellow with age. Flowers are followed by flattened, papery seed pods.

Propagation is relatively easy by normal seed raising methods following pretreatment by soaking in boiling water or by scarification. Cuttings would probably also be successful.

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