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Acacia pycnantha Benth.
Family Fabaceae
Subfamily Mimosoideae
Common name: golden wattle, Australian golden wattle

Acacia pycnantha Benth. APNI*

Synonyms: Acacia petiolaris Lehm. APNI*
Racosperma pycnanthum (Benth.) Pedley APNI*
Acacia westoni orth. var. Maiden APNI*
Acacia westonii Maiden APNI*
Acacia pycnantha var. diglandulosa Reader APNI*

Description: Erect or spreading tree or shrub 3–8 m high; bark smooth or finely fissured, dark brown to greyish; branchlets angled or terete, glabrous.

Phyllodes narrowly elliptic or oblanceolate, subfalcate or falcate, 8–20 cm long, 5–35 mm wide, glabrous, midvein prominent, penniveined, margins ± prominent, apex acute to obtuse, base asymmetric, 1 or 2 glands along margin; pulvinus 4–6 mm long.

Inflorescences 4–23 per axis in axillary racemes and/or axillary and terminal panicles; axis 2–15 cm long; peduncles 2–4 mm long, glabrous; heads globose, usually 40–80-flowered, 6–10 mm diam., bright yellow.

Pods straight or curved, ± flat except slightly raised over seeds, ± straight-sided to barely or slightly constricted between seeds, 5–14 cm long, 5–8 mm wide, firmly papery to thinly leathery, glabrous; seeds longitudinal; funicle expanded towards seed.

M. Flockton

Photo T.M. Tame

Photo Tanja Lenz

Other photo
Photo T.M. Tame


Flowering: July–November.

Distribution and occurrence: southern Eyre Peninsula of South Australia to western Victoria and southern inland areas of New South Wales, chiefly west of the Queanbeyan district; extensively cultivated and occasionally naturalised.

Grows usually in dry sclerophyll forest and heath, in sandy and stony soil.
NSW subdivisions: *CC, ST, ?CWS, SWS, SWP, *NFWP
Other Australian states: Vic. *Tas. *W.A. S.A.
AVH map***

Rather variable species in habit and in phyllode and flower colour. May be confused with Acacia pedina which has non-falcate and generally shorter adult phyllodes, and usually smaller, fewer-flowered heads generally on shorter racemes, A. penninervis which has fewer flowers in the heads and wider pods, and with the naturalised Western Australian species A. saligna which generally has narrower and acute phyllodes with a shorter pulvinus and the gland closer to the base. The name pycnantha - from Greek phchos, thick and compact, and anthos, flowers, refers to dense flower heads. A. pycnantha is the official floral emblem of Australia and features on the national coat-of-arms. The bark is a rich source of tannin.

Text by P.G. Kodela (2005)
Taxon concept: P.G. Kodela & G.J. Harden, Flora of NSW Vol. 2 (2002)

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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