Acacia flavescens

yellow wattle


Acacia flavescens


pronounced: uh-KAY-shuh flav-ESS-kenz

(Mimosaceae — the wattle family)

common names: yellow wattle, red wattle

native 4Acacia comes from the Greek ακις (akis), a thorn or spike; flavescens is Latin for ‘becoming yellow’.

This bushy wattle tree, which has an upright habit, can grow between 4 m and 20 m high, depending on the soil and the location. Its bark is rough and longitudinally furrowed, and is often rather shaggy. The branchlets are angular with a covering of moderately dense golden hairs, hence the ‘yellow’ of the common name. The phyllodes, a distinctive sickle-shape, are thick and dark green, 9 – 24 cm long and up to 5 cm wide, and there are 2 or 3 longitudinal veins that form indentations on the margin. These sharp teeth correspond with the extra-floral nectaries or glands at these points. The phyllodes are often reddish towards the apex, hence the ‘red’ of the other common name.

The flowering period varies, but the flowers are most prominent between December and July. The flowers are pale yellow in heads. These heads are globular, about half a centimetre in diameter, 30 – 60 or so flowers per head.

The seed pods are flat, leathery light brown, 6 – 8 cm long and a little under a centimetre wide. They are slightly constricted between seeds. The seeds themselves are transverse, elliptic, 6 – 7 mm long, dull, black and arillate.

This wattle is widespread in eastern Queensland, mainly in coastal areas, from Cape York to Brisbane, at altitudes between sea level and 1000 m, although it is mostly found on the coastal plain. It grows in sand, and in eucalypt forest and woodland. It is nitrogen-fixing. The tree photographed is in the forest at the base of the southern slopes of Hawkings Point. There is also a clump of these trees in Yule Street, Picnic Bay, near the junction with Birt Street.

The plant is hardy, attractive, and fast-growing, is useful for screens, and has also been used for stock food.

The timber of this tree is hard and close-grained, and attractively marked. The bark was used by Aborigines to make string.

The tree is a food plant for the larvae of:

Photographed 2009-2014, Picnic Bay
Page last updated 2nd December 2019