Acacias of Australia

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Acacia minutifolia F.Muell.

Common Name

Small-leaved Flying-saucer Bush




Occurs in W.A. near the N.T. border between 20ºS and 24°S, and in central western to central southern N.T.


Shrub 0.3–1 m high, 1–1.5 m wide, spreading, resinous. Bark ±smooth, later longitudinally fissured, pale grey-brown. Branchlets angular towards apices, with yellow to red-brown upper portions, scurfy, hirsute; ridges not convoluted. Phyllodes fasciculate, usually 3 or 4 together, sigmoid-oblong, compressed, 1.2–3.1 mm long, 0.5–1.1 mm wide, oblique at base, with laterally mucronulate apex, thick, coriaceous; nerves inconspicuous; pulvinus absent or vestigial. Heads globular, c. 5–9 mm diam., yellow or pale yellow. Flowers 5-merous; calyx 0.9–1.4 mm long, dissected to 1/4–1/2, glabrous; corolla 2.1–3 mm long, dissected to 2/5–3/5, glabrous; ovary glabrous, minutely tuberculate, often capped. Pods linear-oblanceolate, flat, 3–7.5 cm long, 3.5–7.5 mm wide, woody, obliquely striate, papillose, viscid, opening elastically from apex; seed-partitions thick. Seeds oblique, narrowly elliptic-oblong, 3–5 mm long, brown; funicle-aril narrowly conical.


Flowers Apr.–Aug.


Grows in shallow, skeletal, red clay loam on stony lateritic plains and drainage areas, with spinifex and occasional eucalypts.


W.A.: 14 miles [22.4] km N of Sandy Blight–Docker R. road junction, J.R.Maconochie 824 (DNA, NSW); Walter James Ra., J.R.Maconochie 1386 (DNA, NSW). N.T.: 20 km NNE Tanami Mine, P.K.Latz 11833 (DNA, NSW); Tanami Mining Camp, J.R.Maconochie 1101 (DNA, NSW); northern foothills of Mt Palmer Ra., 24 July 1966, J.H.Willis & A.Morrison (MEL, NSW).


Although A. minutifolia has globular inflorescences it is a connecting link between sect. Plurinerves and sect. Juliflorae, being closely allied to A. abbreviata which is possibly a hybrid between A. hilliana and A. minutifolia.

A specimen labelled ‘Finke R., South Australia, H.Kempe 1879’ (NSW) would now be referred to the N.T.

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 J.Rogers

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