Acacias of Australia

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Acacia rubida A.Cunn.

Common Name

Red-stem Wattle, Red-leaf Wattle




Widespread in eastern Australia from the Black Ra., Vic. N along the Great Divide through A.C.T. and N.S.W. to Stanthorpe, south-eastern Qld. Seemingly disjunct between the Armidale–Ebor area and Capertee, N.S.W.


Shrub or tree usually 1.5–5 m high, with juvenile bipinnate leaves often persistent. Branchlets red to reddish brown, usually glabrous. Phyllodes narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, falcately recurved to straight, (4–) 5–20 cm long, 4.5–25 mm wide, narrowed at base, acuminate to obtuse, green to ±glaucous, normally drying reddish at least on margins and midrib, 1-nerved per face, obscurely penninerved; gland (0.5–) 1–4 cm above pulvinus; margin frequently shallowly indented at gland which is sometimes connected to midrib by a fine oblique nerve. Inflorescences racemose; raceme axes normally 2–7 cm long, usually glabrous or appressed-puberulous; peduncles 2–4 (–6) mm long, usually glabrous or sparsely appressed-puberulous; heads globular, 10–20-flowered, light golden; bracteole laminae circular, dark brown, densely white-fimbriolate, evident in buds. Flowers 5-merous; sepals united. Pods 5–12 cm long, 5–9 mm wide, chartaceous to thinly coriaceous, lightly pruinose, glabrous. Seeds longitudinal, oblong, 4–5.5 mm long, slightly shiny, dark brown to black; funicle encircling seed in a single or double fold, dark red-brown.


Mostly found in hilly country or at high altitudes, often near watercourses, and on a variety of soils including clays and sands.


Qld: Girraween Natl Park, 35 km S of Stanthorpe, M.E.Ballingall 2295 (PERTH). N.S.W.: Mundoonen Nature Reserve, 15 km E of Yass on Hume Hwy to Goulburn, B.R.Maslin 5890 (MEXU, NSW, PERTH); Australia, F.W.Sieber 452 (G-DC, K, MEL, OXF). A.C.T.: between Bulls Head & Bendora Dam, Cotter R. district, R.Pullen 3856 (NSW). Vic.: W of Alexandra, Crystal Ck, Black Ra. 6 Sept. 1978 & Jan. 1979, L.F.Costermans (MEL).


Acacia rubida is a member of the ‘Acacia microbotrya group’ related to A. attenuata. According to L.Pedley, Austrobaileya 1: 299 (1980), A. latisepala is also related to A. rubida even though the former species only very rarely produces phyllodes. Some forms of A. rubida resemble A. semirigida; also sometimes similar to A. falciformis.

Acacia rubida is normally an upright shrub or tree 1.5–5 m high, although in Vic. it may reach 13 m or more, fide A.B.Court, in J.H.Willis, Handb. Pl. Victoria 2: 227 (1973). Its phyllodes are rather variable in shape and size but frequently they are large, falcately recurved, broadest near the middle and obviously narrowed at both ends. Specimens with straight, oblanceolate phyllodes (sometimes as short as 4–5 cm) and rather abruptly narrowed at apex, occur throughout the range and may resemble those of A. amoena or A. chalkeri. The dwarf variant of A. rubida from N.S.W. that was noted by B.R.Maslin, Fl. Australia 11A: 262 (2001), is now treated as Acacia sp. Small Red-leaved Wattle (J.B.Williams 95033).

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