Acacias of Australia

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Acacia frigescens J.H.Willis

Common Name

Montane Wattle, Forest Wattle, Frosted Wattle




Confined to montane and subalpine regions NE of Melbourne to Mt Coopracambra in E Gippsland, Vic.


Shrub or tree 3–15 m high. Bark rather smooth. Branchlets glabrous. Phyllodes narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate-elliptic, straight, 7–16 cm long, 1.5–5 cm wide, acute to subacute, coriaceous, normally greyish green (from an innate mealiness), with 3–5 main longitudinal nerves and a close reticulum between them. Inflorescences comprising 2- to 5-headed axillary racemes; raceme axes 6–17 mm long, glabrous, resinous; peduncles 5–10 mm long, densely puberulous; heads globular, 6–7 mm diam., c. 30-flowered, pale yellow to bright yellow. Flowers 5-merous; sepals united to near their apices. Pods linear, raised over seeds, ±straight, to 10 cm long, 5–8 mm wide, crustaceous-coriaceous, glabrous. Seeds longitudinal, oblong, 4–5 mm long, shiny, black; aril folded beneath the seed, white.


Grows as an understorey in tall eucalypt forest, e.g. Eucalyptus regnans (Mountain Ash).


Vic.: c. 1.3 km N of Mt Coopracambra summit, D.E.Albrecht 3668 (BRI, MEL, PERTH); 5 km W [of] Mt Gregory, S.J.Forbes 948 (BRI, HO, K, NSW, PERTH); Poley Ra., about 16 km NE of Warburton, 18 Feb. 1954, J.H.Willis (MEL, NSW).


Superficially very similar in habit and foliage to A. melanoxylon, with which it is sometimes sympatric. Acacia melanoxylon is most readily distinguished by its rough, fissured bark, commonly persistent bipinnate foliage (discarded after the first seedling leaves in A. frigescens), normally glabrous peduncles and cream-coloured heads of 30–56 flowers, coiled and often twisted pods and especially by its seeds which are encircled by a conspicuous pink to red aril.

FOA Reference

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


R.S.Cowan, B.R.Maslin