Acacias of Australia

Print Fact Sheet

Acacia spondylophylla F.Muell.

Common Name

Curry Wattle, Spine-leaf Wattle




Occurs commonly in the Pilbara region and at scattered localities E to the Rawlinson Ra., W.A., in the Macdonnell and Musgrave Ranges, N.T. and E to Dajarra, Qld.


Shrub to 2 m high, spreading, viscid, with a distinctive aromatic curry smell (at least when fresh). Branchlets puberulous. Stipules 1–1.5 mm long, viscid. Phyllodes 8–14 per whorl, straight to shallowly incurved but often slightly recurved at the tips, slightly flattened, 5–10 (–15) mm long, less than 1 mm wide, wide-spreading, bright green, shortly mucronate, shortly puberulous, with an obscure impressed nerve on upper surface and both surfaces obscurely ribbed when dry. Peduncles 10–25 (–35) mm long, sparsely pilose, viscid. Heads 25–40-flowered. Flowers 5-merous; calyx 0.8–1.2 mm long, lobed to c. half way, membranous, glabrous, with lobes spathulate or triangular; corolla lobes smooth (not striate), glabrous or sparsely hairy. Pods narrowly oblong, flat but prominently rounded over seeds alternately on each side (giving pods an undulate appearance), curved, 20–40 mm long, 6–10 mm wide, with nerve-like margins, coriaceous, viscid. Seeds transverse, 3.5–4 mm long; pleurogram open.


Grows in shallow, sandy or rocky soil.


W.A.: Hamersley Ra., C.A.Gardner 3123 (PERTH). N.T.: Central Mt Wedge Stn, G.M.Chippendale NT1839 (BRI, CANB, DNA, NSW); c. 22 km SE of Aileron, M.Lazarides 5779 (BRI, CANB, DNA, MEL); 16 km S of Barrow Creek, R.A.Perry 2723 (BRI, CANB, DNA, MEL). Qld: Ardmore, 40 km W of Dajarra, S.L.Everist 3191 (BRI, CANB).


Acacia spondylophylla has horticultural potential as a ground cover or for rockery plantings. It is drought tolerant and regenerates from seed.

Often confused with A. perryi which has larger phyllodes and stipules, as well as striate-nerved corollas. Occasionally hybridises with A. adoxa var. adoxa in the Pilbara region, W.A. (see A. adoxa × spondylophylla). An erect variant (to c. 2 m tall) with slightly shorter than normal phyllodes occurs on Meentheena Stn in the eastern Pilbara region, W.A. It is discussed in B.R.Maslin et al., Wattles of the Pilbara CD-ROM (2012) under the phrase name Acacia sp. Meentheena (S. van Leeuwen 4529), but is probably not taxonomically significant.

FOA Reference

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



Revised by B.R.Maslin