Acacias of Australia

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Acacia desmondii Maslin

Common Name

Des Nelson Wattle




Known only from several bores and ranges (Rodinga, Train Hills and Pillar Ra.) on Allambi and Tood River Stns, N.T.


Shrubby tree 3–6 m high. Bark grey and fibrous on main trunk to c. 2 m above ground, ‘Minni Ritchi’ (red and exfoliating in narrow curly strips) on juvenile plants and some lateral branches of adults. Branchlets ±terete, obscurely ridged, glabrous. Phyllodes linear, tapered towards base, sometimes curved towards apex, 12–23 cm long, usually 0.9–2.3 mm wide, acuminate, flattened but rather thick, glabrous, becoming subglaucous; finely and ±uniformly striate by numerous, closely spaced nerves; gland 1, inconspicuous, basal. Inflorescences condensed axillary racemes 1–3 mm long; spikes light golden; peduncles 2–10 mm long. Flowers 5-merous; calyx 0.6–1.3 mm long, dissected for 1/6–1/3, puberulous; corolla 1.4–2.1 mm long, dissected for 1/2–2/3, ±nerveless, glabrous; ovary pubescent. Pods submoniliform, raised over and constricted between seeds, straight to curved, 2.5–9 cm long, 2–4 mm wide, firmly chartaceous and brittle, ±glabrous, longitudinally wrinkled. Seeds longitudinal, oblong-elliptic, 4–4.5 mm long, shiny, black; pleurogram with narrow, pale halo; areole open.


Flowers probably July–Nov.


Grows in dry rocky gullies and stony watercourses at the base of ranges and on rocky sandstone cliffs.


N.T.: Atherrita Bore, 57 miles [91.2 km] SE of Todd R. Stn, J.R.Maconochie 466 (DNA, NSW); Atherrita Bore, 52 miles [83.2 km] SE of Todd R. HS, D.J.Nelson 1305 (DNA, NSW).


Related to A. rhodophloia but distinguished by longer, narrower and acuminate phyllodes, submoniliform pods and bark which is often not strictly ‘Minni Ritchi’, see B.R.Maslin, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 2: 316 (1980), for discussion. A specimen cultivated in Alice Springs has atypically broad phyllodes (4–5 mm wide).

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

Dr M.D.Tindale and Dr P.G.Kodela with the assistance of M.Bedward, S.J.Davies, C.Herscovitch, D.A.Keith and/or D.A.Morrison