Acacia name change to Vachellia

'No more Acacias in Africa'

I have been rather tardy in applying the change of name for Acacias. I am really not qualified to explain this change in taxonomy but from my (limited) understanding, there is a difference between the Acacias of Africa  and Asia compared to the Acacias of Australia. Suffice it to say that the name Acacia has been retained for the Australian wattle, while in Africa, the name Acacia has been replaced in most cases by Vachellia and in others by Senegalia.

If you feel the need for more information, I found the following website explained the situation in a reasonably simple manner and a link at the end of the article will lead you to  list of the new species names:


Is the change of name for acacias now finalized? I followed the whole business for some time, but after a while just could not keep up with it all! What is difficult to understand is that this is a complete departure from the international rules of nomenclature, as the first Acacias were described in Africa and only subsequently were the Autralian Acacias added! I understand that Australia argued that there were more species there than in Africa and on those grounds wangled it that Africa should change their Acacias to other genus names - surely that sounds like pragmatism and a break away from the normal rules - or have I perhaps got the whole thing wrong? Like you, I am reticent to change from Acacia - it feels all wrong - perhaps you or other readers could enlighten me?!!
Thank you again for a fascinating site,
Chris Hershensohn

Hi Chris

Yes, the name was finalized in 2011. The various arguments for this change are cited in an article on the website World Wide Wattle at
The article does state that '...all arguments, both for and against retypifying the genus, were properly considered by the appropriate bodies and that the decision reached was consistent with the Rules and Principles outlined in the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.'

Since I started the website I have had to come to terms with a number of name changes, some of which have resulted in serious tongue twisting. Vachellia and Senegalia are at least easily pronounceable and the split is uncomplicated.

I have recently come across changes being made in the 'Aloe' world that I find really difficult: Haworthias have been divided into Haworthia, Haworthiopsis and Tulista; tree aloes have been re-named Aloidendron (eg. Aloidendron barberaea); some of the scrambling aloes have been re-named Aloiampelos (eg. Aloiampelos ciliarus) and the genus Chortolirion (tiny grass aloes) has been transferred to the Aloe genus. As further molecular studies are carried out I am sure there will be many more changes in the future.

The same sort of changes are taking place in the bird world as well. Genetic and molecular studies certainly bring home to us that the diversity of species is far greater than we could ever have imagined.

Kind regards

I've recently moved into a new house in Roosevelt Park Jhbg. I discovered this shrub /tree growing near the swimming pool. What you can't see in the image are the thorns and white coluring of the branches.

I am also struggling to Id the plant. I destroy alien invasive plants and the Brambles are important invaders. I do not destroy the above plant because, although it is a Bramble (Rubus spp), I think it is indigenous.I think it is a Rubus rigidula, which is indigenous and produces a very tasty rasberry-like fruit. If you get confirmation please let me know.

The Latin word acacia is a direct conversion from the Greek akakia (linked to akantha, meaning a thorn or prickle), and simply meant a thorn tree (as seen in Africa & Asia); the Latin acanthus was the name given to an evergreen Egyptian thorn tree. The trees known as Acacias in Australia are to the best of my knowledge unarmed (no thorns) and some even have only primitive simple leaves rather than the lovely bi-pinnate leaves of true Acacias, therefore strictly speaking they have no right to the name and in particular the genus Acacia; they might be better called Mimosas. It is quite astonishing how much nonsense has been churned out on this subject!

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