Common name: cinnamon wattle, leper wattle
Acacia leprosa Sieber ex DC. APNI*
Synonyms: Racosperma leprosum (Sieber ex DC.) Pedley APNI*
Description: Erect or spreading shrub 1–6 m high, sometimes a tree to 10 m high; bark smooth, greyish; branchlets terete or angled towards extremities, resinous, glabrous except for appressed-hairy ridges. The raised fine ribs are yellowish to light brown or dark red-brown while the wider regions between them are more or less the same colour or darker than the ribs and sometimes have a thin veneer of resin.
Phyllodes usually elliptic or narrowly elliptic to lanceolate, straight to slightly curved, usually 5–14 cm long and 5–15 (-30) mm wide, glabrous or with appressed hairs on margins and veins, dotted with resin glands, with 1 or 2 longitudinal veins (when 2-veined the veins are of equal prominence or the upper (adaxial) one is more pronounced); lateral veins when present fine, openly anastomosing, often distally coalescing to form a fine, uneven intra-marginal vein on one or both sides of the phyllode; apex mostly acute to acuminate; 1 gland 0–8 mm above pulvinus; pulvinus 0.5–2 mm long.
Inflorescences simple, 1–6 in axil of phyllodes or rarely on an axis (rudimentary raceme) 1–3 mm long; peduncles 4–10 mm long, glabrous or hairy; heads globose, 20–40-flowered, 5–10 mm diam., pale or bright yellow.
Pods straight to slightly curved, ± straight-sided to barely constricted between seeds, sometimes more deeply constricted between some seeds, 4–8 cm long, 3–5 mm wide, firmly papery to thinly leathery, glabrous or ± hairy especially along margins; seeds longitudinal; funicle expanded towards seed.
Distribution and occurrence: south-east of Rylstone.
Grows usually in eucalypt forest and woodland.
NSW subdivisions: SC, CT, ST, ?CWS, SWS
Other Australian states: Qld Vic. Tas.
The name 'leprosa' refers to the mealy or spotted nature of the phyllodes (the faces are marked by punctae). A highly variable species, Acacia leprosa had for some time been treated as a complex comprised of several variants, and is often confused with the closely related A. verniciflua complex. A taxonomic revision of the Acacia leprosa - A. verniciflua group by B.R. Maslin & D.J. Murphy (Muelleria, 2009) resulted in several new taxa. An unusual red-flowered form of a large bracteole variant of A. leprosa var. uninervia was discovered in Victoria in 1995 and is known as the cultivar Acacia leprosa 'Scarlet Blaze'.
Text by P.G. Kodela (April 2009)
Taxon concept: B.R. Maslin & D.J. Murphy (Muelleria 27: 183-223, 2009)
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
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