Acacias of Australia

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Acacia platycarpa F.Muell.

Common Name

Ghost Wattle, Pindan Wattle, White-barked Wattle




Occurs widely across northern Australia, W.A. through N.T. to Qld; in Qld extending S to Blackall.


Shrub or tree 2–6 (–10) m high. Bark rough, grey to red-brown; upper branches normally pruinose. Branchlets terete, normally glabrous. Phyllodes inequilaterally elliptic, falcate, (5.2–) 9–19 cm long, (1–) 2.5–6.7 cm wide, obtuse, coriaceous, glabrous, with 3 or 4 distant main nerves (some confluent with lower margin near base), coarsely reticulate; gland basal, with 1–3 additional glands in notches along upper margin. Inflorescences in axillary racemes or terminal panicles; raceme axes 4–25 cm long; peduncles 7–15 mm long, to 25 mm long in fruit, in fascicles of 2–5, glabrous; heads globular, 5–6.5 mm diam., 31–41-flowered, creamy white to pale yellow. Flowers 5-merous; sepals ±free to 3/4-united. Pods flat, to 20 cm long, 1.8–3.5 cm wide, coriaceous to subwoody, reticulate, glabrous; margins narrowly winged. Seeds transverse, ±broadly elliptic, 9–11 mm long, dull, grey-brown to brown; aril large.


Grows in sand, mostly over sandstone or laterite, in open forest, woodland and shrubland.


W.A.: Inglis Gap, King Leopold Ra., J.R.Maconochie 1189 (NSW, PERTH); Mertens Falls, c. 15 km E of Mitchell R., B.R.Maslin 5123 (BRI, PERTH). N.T.: c. 6.4 km SE of Katherine on Stuart Hwy, L.G.Adams 829 (PERTH); Caiman Ck, N.Byrnes 1068 & J.R.Maconochie (PERTH). Qld: 22.5 km E of Prairie Township, M.Lazarides 4547 (NSW, PERTH).


Some specimens from the Great Sandy Desert region of W.A. are atypical in various ways: (1) I.J.Bull 55 & 56 (both PERTH) have phyllodes that are scarcely dimidiate, elliptic to obovate, straight and 6–7 cm long; (2) A.S.George 15568 (CANB, DNA, PERTH) has hirtellous branchlets.

Related to A. convallium, A. dunnii, A. tolmerensis and to A. sericata. Similar to A. leptoloba.

The collection, K.F.Kenneally 11201, PERTH (in flower) from the Hunter R., Kimberley region, probably represents an undescribed species. It has the general facies of A. platycarpa but is most readily distinguished by its 2-nerved phyllodes which are 1–2 cm wide, thinly coriaceous and (along with the branchlets) sparsely appressed-puberulous.

Erroneously synonymised with the closely related A. sericata by G.Bentham, Fl. Austral. 2: 391 (1864).

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

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