Acacias of Australia

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Acacia subulata Bonpl.

Common Name

Awl-leaf Wattle




Occurs on the tablelands and western slopes of the Great Divide from Lithgow N to Warialda and W to the plains near Pilliga, N.S.W. G.M.Cunningham et al., Pl. W New South Wales 373 (1981), record A. subulata from the Rankins Springs–Griffith area, but this is probably based on a mis-identification of A. calamifolia.


Rather weak shrub or tree 2–4 m high. Branchlets glabrous. Phyllodes filiform to narrowly linear, slender, straight to shallowly incurved, flat or quadrangular to ±terete, (5–) 6–14 (–17) cm long, 0.8–2 mm wide, acute, flexible, green to subglaucous, glabrous, often longitudinally wrinkled when dry, finely 4-nerved in all, 1-nerved per face when flat. Inflorescences racemose; raceme axes normally 1–3 cm long, slender, glabrous; peduncles 3–6 mm long, slender, glabrous; heads globular, 12–20-flowered, pale yellow or bright lemon yellow; bracteoles peltate, with ±circular laminae white- or pale yellow-fimbriolate. Flowers 5-merous; sepals c. 5/6-united. Pods linear, straight-edged or constricted between seeds, to c. 18 cm long, 5–8 mm wide, firmly chartaceous to thinly coriaceous, glabrous. Seeds longitudinal, oblong to elliptic, 5–7 mm long, slightly shiny, black; funicle encircling seed in a single or double fold, red-brown to black; aril clavate.


Grows in sand or sandy loam, often along creeks.


N.S.W.: Crown Ck, Capertee Valley, c. 40.2 km N of Lithgow, E.F.Constable 7192 (NSW, PERTH); Pilliga Scrub, E.C.Rolls 65 (NSW); 5.5 km E of Bylong on the road to Muswellbrook, B.R.Maslin 5914 (MEXU, NSW, PERTH); Warialda, T.Tame 10/87 (PERTH).


A member of the ‘A. microbotrya group’, closely allied to the more westerly-distributed A. calamifolia which is distinguished especially by its phyllodes which are narrowed to delicate, characteristically curved points (in A. subulata the phyllodes end in short, ±straight, erect points). Also, in A. calamifolia the phyllode nerves are less pronounced (often ±impressed) than those of A. subulata and the heads are 25–40-flowered. The Macquarie R., [C.]Fraser, specimen cited by G.Bentham, Fl. Austral. 2: 339 (1864) under A. calamifolia is A. subulata.

The phyllodes are commonly quadrangular to ±terete in section, but in the Merriwa–Gungul–Murrumbo area and sometimes Narrabri–Pilliga area they are flat. This flat-phyllode form is common in cultivation where it may reach 7 m high.

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