Acacias of Australia

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Acacia rigens A.Cunn. ex G.Don

Common Name

Needle Wattle, Nealie, Needle-bush Wattle, Nealia, Nilyah




Mainly found from the Gawler Ra., S.A., E through north-western Vic. to near Dubbo in N.S.W., but with a few scattered occurrences in western S.A., W.A., N.T. and Qld.


Spreading shrub 2–3 m high; occasionally tree to 6 m high. Branchlets sericeous between the yellow ribs. Phyllodes straight to shallowly incurved, terete, rarely flat, 3–14 cm long, 0.8–1 mm diam., to 2.5 mm wide when flat, innocuous or ±coarsely pungent with a straight or curved point, coriaceous to subrigid, grey-green, multistriate with often yellowish nerves (some appearing more prominent than others), appressed-puberulous or sometimes glabrous between the nerves; gland basal. Inflorescences simple, (1–) 2 (-4) per axil; peduncles 2–6 (–8) mm long, appressed-puberulous; basal bract persistent; heads globular, 20–33-flowered, golden, ±resinous. Flowers 5-merous; sepals free to 1/2-united. Pods submoniliform, curved, 3.5–10 cm long, 2–3 mm wide, firmly chartaceous to thinly coriaceous, ±appressed puberulous. Seeds longitudinal, oblong-elliptic to narrowly elliptic, 3–4.5 mm long, glossy, pale brown; aril apical, conical.


Commonly in sandy soils but also in red and shaly soils, mostly in mallee scrub.


W.A.: 3.2 km E of Boorabbin on Great Eastern Hwy, B.R.Maslin 1859 (AD, K, MEL, NSW, PERTH). N.T.: 9 km S of Gosses Bluff, P.K.Latz 17759 (AD, DNA, NT, PERTH). S.A.: c. 22.8 km SE of Tailem Bend on Dukes Hwy, N.Hall H80/85 (NSW, PERTH). Qld: Dingwall, 155 km SSE of Charleville, S.L.Everist 7508 (BRI). N.S.W.: 4.8 km NE of West Wyalong, R.Coveny 2377 (PERTH). Vic.: 4.8 km SE of Redcliffs, J.Cullimore 30 (PERTH).


A widespread and variable species that is often confused with A. havilandiorum (S.A., N.S.W., Vic.). Similar in some respects to A. masliniana and A. roycei (W.A.), both of which are readily distinguished by their subulate-pungent phyllode apices; also related to A. argyrotricha (Qld) and possibly Acacia sp. Kalannie North East (B.R.Maslin 7915) (W.A.). One variant of A. eremophila was treated as A. rigens by B.R.Maslin, Fl. Central Australia 130 (1981). A glabrous variant with phyllode gland 1.5–2.5 mm above the pulvinus is noted by T.J.Entwistle et al., Fl. Victoria 3: 614 (1996) from the Little Desert, Vic.

FOA Reference

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