Acacias of Australia

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Acacia pubescens (Vent.) R.Br.

Common Name

Downy Wattle, Hairy-stemmed Wattle




Endemic to N.S.W. on the lower Blue Mtns in the Bilpin district, and on the Cumberland Plain from Pitt Town S to George’s R.


Spreading to slightly weeping shrub 1–5 m high. Bark smooth, brownish grey. Branchlets ±terete with low ridges, dark brown or dark red-brown, ±villous. Young foliage-tips silvery or yellowish white, villous. Leaves herbaceous, bright green above, paler beneath, subsessile with basal pinnae arising ±immediately or rarely to 0.7 mm above pulvinus, sometimes with a gland at basal pinnae; rachis 1.5–6.6 cm long, ridged, ±villous, mostly eglandular, sometimes with a spherical or ellipsoid pale brown or blackish gland at base of terminal pinnae or rarely 2–6 upper pinnae; rarely interjugary glands present; pinnae 3–12 pairs, 0.5–2.5 cm long, basal pairs shorter than others; pinnules 5–20 pairs, cultrate to ±oblong, 1.5–5 mm long, 0.4–1 mm wide, 1-nerved, glabrous, acute or subacute. Inflorescences in axillary racemes or terminal false-panicles; peduncles 3–9 mm long, normally glabrous. Heads 8–16-flowered, golden. Pods 1.5–8 cm long, 4–6.5 mm wide, subcoriaceous, bluish, bluish brown or almost black, ±pruinose, glabrous.


Flowers Aug.–Oct.; fruits Oct.–Jan.


Grows in open forest or woodland, scrub-woodland and in Melaleuca scrub, in gravelly clay or sandy soils, often on Wianamatta Shale.


N.S.W.: Mountain Lagoon, C.Dunn 25 & R.G.Coveny (B, BM, CHR, MO, PERTH, TL, UC, US, Z); Wetherill Park, W of Smithfield, O.D.Evans (NSW60631); Long Neck Lagoon Nature Reserve, D.Fortescue 1011 & J.Benson (B, MO, NSW, PERTH); 1.6 km N of Pitt Town, M.D.Tindale s.n. (NSW53064); Chester Hill, M.D.Tindale s.n. (NSW8114).


May be confused with A. cardiophylla which has cordate, concolorous and hispidulous pinnules. Hybridises with A. baileyana, A. cardiophylla and other species.

Acacia pubescens was one of the first Australian acacias cultivated in Europe, being grown at Malmaison near Paris in the garden of the Empress Josephine. This is a rare and endangered species since much of its original habitat in western Sydney has been destroyed for housing.

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.Reid & J.Rogers

M.D.Tindale, P.G.Kodela