Acacia alpina F.Muell., Fragm . 3: 129 (1863)
Tangled shrub, 1–2 m high, 1–10 m wide. Stipules caducous, deltate, 0.5–1 mm long. Phyllodes obovate or suborbicular, commonly asymmetrical, 1.5–3.5 cm long, 8–25 mm wide, mostly minutely mucronate, coriaceous, the primary veins 2–4, the secondary veins anastomosing and conspicuous; gland small or obscure, 2–9 mm above phyllode axil; pulvinus present,. Inflorescences with peduncles 1–3 mm long; spikes solitary or twinned, oblong or cylindrical, 5–15 mm long; bracteoles cymbiform, 0.4–1 mm long, 0.3–0.8 mm wide. Flowers few, scattered, 4-merous; sepals united. Pods moniliform, gently curved or coiled, thin-walled, 3–8 cm long, 3.5–6 mm wide. Seeds narrowly elliptic, 3.5–5 mm long; funicle folded 3–8 times; aril turbinate.
Occurs in woodlands and heathlands and on open plains in the Snowy Mtns, N.S.W. and southern A.C.T. and extends to Mt Baw Baw in the eastern highlands of Vic. where it is sometimes locally common. It occurs most frequently in granitic tracts and seems to be confined to habitats between 1300 and 1800 m altitude. Sometimes it thrives well in windswept areas and occasionally forms impenetrable thickets.
Distinguished from A. longifolia by its ovate or suborbicular phyllodes, its low, intricate and tangled habit and its preference for alpine and subalpine habitats.
Acacia alpina is closely related to A. phlebophylla and the two species hybridize in the Mt Buffalo NP, Vic. (see N.G.Walsh 5163, MEL). Hybrid plants are taller than those of A. alpina and are always sterile. At the head of Crystal Brook the hybrids occur in populations with both parents, but elsewhere only A. alpina is present with the hybrids.
Type of accepted name
Mt Wellington, Mar. 1861, F.Mueller s.n. ; lecto: MEL, fide A.B.Court (to be published in Appendix to Fl. Australia vol. 11, 2001).
Acacia longifolia var. alpina (F.Muell.) F.Muell., Pl. Victoria 2: 31 (1863), nom. inval. [not effectively published, fide A.B.Court, R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 9(3):315–318 (1994)]. Type: as for accepted name.
F.Mueller, Iconogr. Austral. Acacia dec. 9 [pl. 3] (1888); L.F.Costermans, Native Trees Shrubs SE Australia 306 (1981); M.H.Simmons, Acacias Australia 249 (1981); T.Tame, Acacias SE Australia 41, pl. 16 (1992).
N.S.W.: below Blue Cow, Mt. Kosciusko area, M.Gray & C.J.Totterdell 6456 (CANB, MEL). A.C.T.: Sentry Box Hill, I.R.Telford 8589 (CANB, NSW). Vic.: Mt St Bernard, Jan. 1900, J.H.Maiden s.n. (HO, NSW); The Big Plain, 3 km NW of Mt Wellington, T.B.Muir 3737 (MEL).