Acacias of Australia

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Acacia ampliceps Maslin

Common Name

Salt Wattle, Spring Wattle




Widespread from Wooramel, through the Pilbara district, northern Great Sandy Desert and southern Kimberley region, W.A., E to Mataranka and Renner Springs, N.T.


Bushy, rather untidy, large shrubs or small trees commonly 3–5 m tall, sometimes 6–7 (–9) m tall, occasionally prostrate. Branchlets often pendulous, yellowish, glabrous. Phyllodes commonly pendulous, variable, linear to lanceolate, sometimes narrowly obovate, 7–25 (–30) cm long, 7–30 (–40) mm wide, ±thin, light green, glabrous, prominently 1‑nerved, penninerved; glands 2, with lowermost prominent, 0–3 mm above pulvinus, and upper­most smaller and at base of mucro. Inflorescences terminal or axillary 2–11-headed racemes, with secondary phyllode sometimes developed at base of peduncles; raceme axes to 10 cm long, robust, glabrous, subtended when very young by bracts; peduncles 5–20 (–25) mm long, robust, glabrous; heads globular, large, subdense, 25-50-flowered, white to cream, not showy. Flowers 5-merous; calyx united, ±truncate or sinuate-toothed. Pods submoniliform, breaking readily at constrictions, to 11.5 cm long, 4–6 mm wide, ±woody, glabrous. Seeds longitudinal, oblong, 5–6.5 mm long, ±shiny, greyish brown to black; aril scarlet.


Flowers May–Aug.


Grows in sand or clay along watercourses, or in swales between coastal sandhills.


W.A.: Millstream, M.I.H.Brooker 2059 (MEL, NSW, PERTH); upper Rudall R. area, B.R.Maslin 2296 (AD, CANB, K, MEL, NY, PERTH); 111 km E of Broome towards Derby, B.R.Maslin 2676 (AD, K, MEL, NY, PERTH); Wolf Creek Crater, 13 July 1974, J.H.Willis (PERTH). N.T.: Coomarie Springs, J.Maconochie 1733 (PERTH).


A member of the ‘A. bivenosa group’, distinguished most readily from A. ligulata and A. salicina by a combination of its thin, light green, commonly pendulous phyllodes, white, many-flowered heads and narrower pods. Past confusion of this species with A. salicina (syn. A. varians) is discussed by B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 316 (1974).

A moderately fast-growing but short-lived species which frequently spreads by root-suckering to form monospecific stands on moist sites. It has great potential for use in reclamation of salt-affected areas and as a low windbreak, fide J.W.Turnbull (ed.), Multi-purpose Austral. Trees & Shrubs 96–97 (1986). The foliage is very susceptible to insect attack.

Hybridises with A. bivenosa (see A. ampliceps × bivenosa) and probably also with A. sclerosperma subsp. sclerosperma (see A. ampliceps × sclerosperma subsp. sclerosperma) in the Pilbara region, W.A.

FOA Reference

Data derived from Flora of Australia Volumes 11A (2001), 11B (2001) and 12 (1998), products of ABRS, ©Commonwealth of Australia


Edited by B.R.Maslin

A.R.Chapman, B.R.Maslin