Acacia jackesiana

Betsy's wattle


Acacia jackesiana

Pedley 1981

pronounced: uh-KAY-shuh jake-see-AH-nuh

(Mimosaceae — the wattle family)

common name: Betsy's wattle

native 4Acacia is from the Greek ακις (akis), a thorn or spike; jackesiana is for the indefatigable Betsy Jackes, of James Cook University, Townsville. Betsy has devoted years of time and a great deal of energy into identifying and classifying our island plants, and richly deserves having a plant named after her.

This is a rare and threatened plant, found only in the area from Greenvale south to Cape Palmerston, Queensland, and on Magnetic Island. On the island, it has been observed by Gustav Creek, Nelly Bay. In Townsville, it has been observed on Mount Stuart.

It usually grows on hill slopes and crests in generally sparse understorey
It is a prostrate shrub that can grow to 1 metre in height, but is usually below 50 cm. The branchlets are red-brown, and slightly angular. Closer to the tips of the branchlets, they become resinous, and are covered with tiny scales.

The phyllodes are alternate, grass-like, and their cross-section is circular. They are 9 - 14 cm long, and 0.8 - 1 mm wide, glabrous, but also with tiny scales.

The yellow flowers are clustered into small, very open cylindrical spikes 12 - 22 mm long.

The fruit is a narrow, flat, dry sub-woody pod, 6 - 10 cm long and about 8 mm wide. The margins of the pods are fawn in colour, and prominent. The seeds are about 5 mm long, light brown in colour.

Pollination is by native bees, and it is thought that ants may assist in seed distribution.

Fire will destroy some plants, but others will survive due to having an elongated lignotuber.

This is one of a small group of species native to North Queensland, including Acacia guymeri and A. whitei.

Threats include invasion by exotic grasses, which may choke out the plants, and over-grazing.

Photographed on Magnetic Island
Page last updated 2nd December 2019