Acacias of Australia

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Acacia leptostachya Benth.

Common Name

Slender Wattle, Townsville Wattle




Occurs from the E central part of Cape York Peninsula near Coen through coastal and inland districts as far S as Maryborough and Boatman Stn, S of Charleville, Qld. It also occurs near Riversleigh Stn (c. 200 km NW of Mt Isa).


Small shrub to tree, 0.5–6 m high. Branchlets usually appressed-puberulous except on ribs. Young shoots resinous, not viscid. Phyllodes narrowly elliptic to lanceolate, sometimes almost linear, straight or shallowly curved, (3.5–) 4–9 (–12) cm long, 2–12 (–20) mm wide, usually subglabrous to pubescent with silvery appressed hairs, with numerous fine rather close (mostly 5–7 per mm) nonanastomosing nerves, with 2 or 3 more prominent. Inflorescences 2-headed racemes, 1–5 (–10) mm long; peduncles 1–3 (–5) mm long, normally appressed puberulous; receptacles glabrous; spikes 2–4 cm long, subdense to interrupted, golden. Flowers 5-merous; sepals united, golden puberulous to ±glabrous; ovary densely hairy. Pods linear, raised over seeds, to 6 cm long, 2–9 mm wide, firmly chartaceous to thinly coriaceous, glabrous. Seeds longitudinal or (when pods broad) transverse, oblong, 2.7–4 mm long, shiny, brown; aril small.


Grows in deep sand and skeletal soil on sandstone or granite in eucalypt woodland, open eucalypt forest or Triodia hummock grassland.


Qld: 11 km SW of beach at Yeppoon towards Rockhampton, R.Cumming 3219 (PERTH); Boatman [Stn], S.L.Everist 5624 (BRI n.v.); 36 km S of Riversleigh Stn, A.J.Gray & D.M.Gordon 3340 (BRI); Blackdown Tableland, W.G.Trapnell 39 & K.A.Williams (BRI).


A variable species. Further study is required to elucidate the complex variation patterns, fide L.Pedley, Austrobaileya 7: 354 (2006). The variation is especially marked in the species’ habit, phyllode dimensions, indumentum of calyx, and pod width, fide L.Pedley, Austrobaileya 1: 144 (1978). Following L.Pedley, Austrobaileya 1: 144 (1978), A. capillosa is treated as conspecific with A. leptostachya, but specimens agreeing with the type of A. capillosa are very distinctive in having densely pubescent to villous (almost velvety) branchlets, phyllodes and peduncles. The hairs of the indumentum are not closely appressed as in typical A. leptostachya (young plants of typical A. leptostachya have pubescent branchlets and phyllodes).

FOA Reference

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


Minor edits by B.R.Maslin & J.Rogers