Acacias of Australia

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Acacia suaveolens (Sm.) Willd.

Common Name

Sweet Wattle, Sweet-scented Wattle




Occurs in coastal and near-coastal areas from Bustard Bay area, Qld, S through N.S.W. to Cape Otway, Vic., also Casterton to near Penola, S.A., Tas., and some Bass Strait islands.


Slender, sparingly branched shrub usually 1–3 m high. Branchlets acutely angled to flat, sometimes pruinose, glabrous. Phyllodes ascending to erect, narrowly linear to linear-oblanceolate or very narrowly elliptic, frequently shallowly incurved, (4–) 7–14 (–15) cm long,(1–) 2–10 (–12) mm wide, l:w = 12–25, narrowed at base, mucronate, thin to moderately coriaceous, glabrous; midrib prominent; lateral nerves absent or obscure; glands not prominent, 0–2 mm above pulvinus, normally also at base of mucro. Inflorescences 6–12-headed racemes; raceme axes 1–3 cm long, enclosed when young by conspicuous imbricate bracts; peduncles 3–5 mm long, to 10 mm in fruit, slender, glabrous; heads globular, 3–10-flowered, usually ±white to cream or lemon yellow; bracteoles absent. Flowers 5-merous; sepals free, narrowly linear. Pods oblong, 2–5 cm long, 1–2 cm wide, thinly coriaceous-crustaceous, purplish brown to blue-black, pruinose, glabrous. Seeds transverse, elliptic, 6–7 mm long, shiny, black; aril brown-black.


Grows in sand or on sandstone, usually in heath or woodland.


S.A.: Glencoe, c. 15 km NNW of Mt Gambier, R.Bates 1514 (AD). Qld: Wide Bay Military Training Area, c. 9 km NNE of Camp Kerr, L.G.Adams 3502 (BRI). N.S.W.: Pacific Hwy, 0.8 km E of Kariong, R.Coveny 4878 (PERTH). Vic.: c. 10 km by road NE of Rosebud, Port Phillip Bay, B.R.Maslin 5472 (PERTH). Tas.: Circular Head, 17 Aug. 1837 and 3 Jan. 1841, R.Gunn 173/1842 (both PERTH).


Closely allied to A. subcaerulea from W.A. Similar to A. iteaphylla which has a different habit, branchlets angled only at the extremities, heads with more flowers, longer peduncles, longer, normally narrower pods and longitudinal seeds.

Two variants are recorded for N.S.W. by D.A.Morrison et al., Victorian Naturalist 100: 141 (1983) and T.D.Auld & D.A.Morrison, Austral. J. Bot. 40: 1–11 (1992), namely, a prostrate variant from around Sydney and a very narrow phyllode variant in the Myall Lakes area. A review of the biology of A. suaveolens is given in D.A.Morrison, Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales 109: 271–292 (1987). An analysis of the patterns of variation in A. suaveolens is given in D.A.Morrison & A.J.Rupp, Austral. Syst. Bot. 8: 1013–1027 (1995). In this work four new subspecies are described, but the names have not been adopted here. A rare plant with pink heads was recently discovered near Sydney.

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