Acacias of Australia

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Acacia sphaerostachya E.Pritz.




Largely confined to the Pilbara region, W.A., but does extend northwards to the vicinity of Wallal Downs Stn (between Port Hedland and Broome). Within the Pilbara it has a scattered distribution mostly between Karratha and the vicinity of Port Hedland with outliers in a few places, e.g. near Wittenoom and Cane River Stn, SE of Onslow.


Dense, spreading, glabrous, slightly resinous shrub 1–2.5 m high. Phyllodes asymmetrically lanceolate to narrowly elliptic, commonly shallowly recurved (at least towards the apex) but ranging from straight to prominently recurved or sometimes shallowly sigmoid, 2.5–5 (–6) cm long, (3–) 4–7 (–10) mm wide, acute to acuminate (the apical point thickened and conical), bright green, with longitudinal nerves numerous, parallel with a few sometimes anastomosing, nerves mostly very indistinct (obscured by surface wrinkling when dry) with 1–3 more evident than the rest. Inflorescences simple, 1 or 2 in axils; spike obloid to shortly cylindrical, 7–15 (–20) mm long, golden; peduncles (6–) 9–20 (–25) mm long. Flowers 5-merous; buds ±acute and subdensely arranged. Pods linear to narrowly oblong, narrowed at base, flat, 6–8.5 cm long, 5–7 mm wide, erect, coriaceous-crustaceous to sub-woody, straight, valves normally recurved following dehiscence, brown, longitudinally nerved; margins slightly thickened. Seeds longitudinal to longitudinally oblique, seated in distinct chambers, oblong to elliptic, 6–7 mm long, 3–3.5 mm wide, compressed, dark brown; funicle-aril ±turbinate, white.


Flowers recorded Feb., Mar., June., July. & Oct.; probably related to rainfall events.


W.A.: 2 km SE of Telfer Mine, D.Goble-Garrett 304 (NSW, PERTH); Karratha, near Government Nursery, B.R.Maslin 4714 (CANB, K, PERTH); 41.1 km W of turnoff to Eighty Mile Beach camping ground (near Wallal Downs) on Great Northern Hwy, L.Thomson LXT1173 (PERTH).


Acacia patellaris Domin (1926) and A. glabripes Maiden and Blakely (1928) were based on different specimens of the same E.Clements gathering collected from between the Ashburton R. and De Grey R. in NW W.A.; these names were treated as Dubious Names by M.D.Tindale, Fl. Australia 11B: 442 & 439 (2001). The narrow phyllode entity described as A. sphaerostachya var. angustior by Pritzel was also treated as a Dubious Name by M.D.Tindale, Flora of Australia 11B: 444 (2001); it is referable to A. sphaerostachya but not considered worthy of formal recognition.

The entity described here as A. sphaerostachya is almost certainly a hybrid between A. stellaticeps and A. ancistrocarpa; the two parents and A. sphaerostachya have been recorded as sympatric in a number of places.

FOA Reference

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


B.R.Maslin, P.G.Kodela

Revised by B.R.Maslin