Common name: mimosa bush, cassie, cassie flower, Farnese wattle, thorny acacia, yellow mimosa, briar bush, dead finish, downs mimosa, false mesquite, mimosa wattle, needle bush, perfumed wattle, prickly mimosa bush, sponge flower
Vachellia farnesiana (L.) Wight & Arn. APNI*
Synonyms: Acacia farnesiana (L.) Willd. APNI*
Acacia lenticellata F.Muell. APNI*
Acacia farnesiana var. lenticellata (F.Muell.) F.M.Bailey APNI*
Mimosa farnesiana L. APNI*
Mimosa suaveolens Salisb., nom. illeg. APNI*
Description: Spreading shrub mostly 1.5–4 m high; bark smooth or finely fissured, grey-brown; branchlets ± zigzagged, often hairy towards apex, glabrous with age, with prominent lenticels.
Leaves with petiole 0.2–2 cm long, hairy especially above, with a circular to elongated gland; rachis 0.3–5.5 cm long, hairy especially above, occasionally with a jugary gland at apex, interjugary glands absent; pinnae 1–7 pairs, c. 1–4 cm long, hairy especially above; pinnules 5–23 pairs, mostly narrow-oblong, 3–10 mm long, 0.5–2 mm wide, with minute hairs on margin near base (sometimes towards apex) or glabrous, midvein and lateral veins more visible and slightly raised beneath; stipules spinescent, usually 5–25 mm long.
Heads globose, 33–95-flowered, bright yellow or orange-yellow, 1–3 or more in axil of leaves; peduncles mostly 3–30 mm long, hairy.
Pods cigar-like, straight to strongly curved, ± terete, turgid, 1.5–8.5 cm long, 8–17 mm wide, dark brown to blackish, glabrous; seeds transverse or oblique, separated by pith.
Flowering: irregularly throughout year, usually June–September
Distribution and occurrence: north from Jerilderie. New World origin; widespread through the tropics and subtropics of central America (where native), Africa and Asia; often being naturalised.
Grows in open woodland, shrubland and grassland, in alluvial clay soils and sandy loams, on open plains and near watercourses.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, ?CC, *NWS, *CWS, *SWS, *NWP, *SWP, *NFWP
Other Australian states: *Qld *W.A. *S.A. *N.T.
This species is now believed to have been introduced to Australia via the Philippines prior to Eurpoean settlement, having originated in Central America (P.G. Kodela (2020) Vachellia farnesiana, in P.G. Kodela & B.R. Maslin (ed.), Flora of Australia. Australian Biological Resources Study, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment: Canberra. https://profiles.ala.org.au/opus/foa/profile/Vachellia%20farnesiana [Date Accessed: 15 June 2021]). We here follow the Australian Plant Census (APC) in considering this species naturalised in NSW. Invasive in grasslands, especially in northern NSW, and is a major weed in some local areas (https://weeds.dpi.nsw.gov.au/Weeds/MimosaBush, accessed 15 June 2021)
Plants of this taxon in Australia are probably all referable to var. farnesiana. The roasted pods have been eaten by Aboriginal cultures. The foliage and young, green pods are palatable to cattle and sheep. Cultivated in Mediterranean countries for its fragrant flowers to make perfumes.
Text by P.G. Kodela (April 2006; last edit Dec 2012)
Taxon concept: P.G. Kodela & Peter G. Wilson, Telopea 11(2): 233-244 (2006).
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.