Field Guide Fridays – Pork and Doughboy

Acacia Acuifera, locally “pork and doughboy” 
“Acacia acuifera only grows in the Bahamas archipelago including the Turks and Caicos Islands. It grows in coppice around the coasts of the islands. Coppiced woodland occurs when trees are regularly cut back to ground level with young shoots reappearing from the trees’ stumps. Its common name is pork and doughboy, possibly describing the sausage-shaped fruits. The tree is a favourite food source for the endemic Turks and Caicos rock iguana (Cyclura carinata) which feeds on new leaves, flowers and ripe pods. When the trees’ seeds have passed through an iguana’s digestive system, any beetle larvae which might have infested them are killed off and the seeds germinate more easily. Seeds collected from Acacia acuifera have been put into storage at the Millennium Seed Bank and seedlings resulting from germination trials are being grown on at Kew for eventual display in one of the public glasshouses.”
Above information from kew.org

Acacia Acuifera is found on calcerous soils, is classified as a shrub or small tree, and is described as having alternating leaves and reddish brown to grey twig like stems.  Their bright yellow ball flowers remind me of miniature craspedia or Billy Balls and they bloom all year long so are easily identifiable.  If you would like to see this species, the following habitats migh be explored, information from anbg.gov:

“East Caicos:
rocky headland adjacent to Good’s Hill, SE corner of island, 31 Mar 1978, W.T.Gillis 14459 (GH).

Grand Turk:
beach coppice near Gun Hill, 20 Dec 1975, D.S.Correll 46560 (F, FTG, NY);
Waterloo and vicinity, 20 Feb-24 Mar 1911, C.F.Millspaugh & C.M.Millspaugh 9025 (F, NY);
27 Aug-1 Sep 1905, G.V.Nash & N.Taylor 3775 (F, NY).

Middle (Grand) Caicos:
pineland E of Conch Bar airstrip, 3.5 miles ESE of Conch Bar, 14 Jun 1974, W.T.Gillis & G.R.Proctor 12331 (A, IJ).

Parrot Cay:
sandy soil between dunes, 3 Mar 1911, C.F.Millspaugh & C.M.Millspaugh 9204 (F, NY).

Pine Cay:
dry thicket, 26 Sep 1973, R.G.Anderson 45 (A, FLAS);
NE side, 26 Aug 1974, D.S.Correll 43193 (FLAS, FTG);
E of airstrip in open scrubland, 23 Feb 1973, W.T.Gillis 11830 (A);
stable sandy flats, scrubland behind dunes, 24 Jan 1993, P.H.Raven 28203 (MO);
sandy flats N of Meredian Lodge, 27 Jan 1993, P.H.Raven 28273 (MO).

Providenciales:
dune coppice, Turtle Cove, 14 Dec 1975, D.S.Correll 46353 (F, FTG MO, NY);
coastal coppice near the Bight, 24 Jun 1990, B.A.Neis 164 (FTG).

South Caicos:
rocky limestone coast S of Cockburn Harbour, 21 Apr 1971, D.Burch 4227 (MO, NY);
ridge running between Cockburn Harbour and airport, 11 Feb 1978, D.S.Correll 49450 (FTG);
vicinity of Cockburn Harbour, 17 Jun 1954, G.R.Proctor 8835 (A, IJ);
G.R.Proctor 17496 (A);
14-16 Dec 1907, P.Wilson 7591 (F, GH, NY).

West Caicos:
NE of Company Point along N coast with thatch palm, 3 April 1975, W.T.Gillis 12404 (A, IJ, MO).”

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