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Acacia burkittii

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Acacia burkittii F.Muell. ex Benth., Fl. Austral . 2: 400 (1864)

Burkitt's Wattle, Gunderbluey, Pin Bush, Sandhill Wattle, Fine Leaf Jam .

Multi-stemmed shrub or small tree 1.5–5 m tall, sometimes tree 7–8 (–10) m tall. New shoots appressed golden-hairy. Branchlets glabrous. Phyllodes terete, quadrangular, subterete or flat, narrowed to delicately curved-acuminate points, (5–) 6–13 (–20) cm long, 0.7–2 mm wide, straight to shallowly incurved, ascending to erect, finely multistriate, green, glabrous except ciliolate on upper c. (on terete phyllodes hairs commonly confined to the apical region, sometimes just the tips). Inflorescences simple; spikes sessile (peduncles occasionally to 2 mm long), obloid to cylindrical, normally 5–10 (–20) mm long, golden. Flowers mostly 4-merous; calyx dissected 1/2 or more. Pods often moniliform to sub-moniliform, sometimes prominently rounded over seeds but only shallowly constricted between them, 4–8 (–12.5) cm long, 4–5 (6–7) mm wide, firmly chartaceous to thinly coriaceous-crustaceous, brown. Seeds longitudinal, globose to ovoid or obloid-ellipsoid, 3.5–5 (–6) mm long, 3–4.5 mm wide, clearly turgid (3–4.5 mm thick), very dark brown to black; aril white.

Occurs in the southern Arid Zone extending from near Yalgoo, W.A., eastwards through inland S.A. to the western plains of N.S.W. In W.A. its southern boundary appears to abut the northern boundary of A. acuminata (narrow phyllode variant) ; however, it is difficult to precisely map this boundary because of a paucity of material (especially fruiting specimens, which are often needed to separate the two). Commonly found on plains in red clay-loam or sandy loam (pH 5.5–8) over limestone or a hardpan, in mixed Acacia shrubland with Mulga ( A. aneura ) and/or Bowgada ( A. ramulosa ). It has also been recorded from coarse sand associated with granite outcrops, low rocky hills, and (especially in the eastern part of its range in W.A.) in open low Eucalyptus woodland.

In W.A. flat phyllode forms of A. burkittii tend to occur along the southern and western edge of its geographic range; elsewhere in W.A. the phyllodes are generally terete to sub-terete. In some areas, e.g. around Paynes Find, both phyllode forms occur. Along its southern border where A. burkittii and A. acuminata (narrow phyllode variant) meet, the two taxa may have a very similar facies in the field and both commonly have flat phyllodes 1–2 mm wide; in the absence of fruits they cannot be reliably distinguished (seeds are clearly more turgid and normally wider in A. burkittii than in A. acuminata ). This situation occurs principally in the area from Yalgoo to south of Paynes Find and eastward to around Kalgoorlie; in this region the two taxa are sometimes sympatric. In the area south of Paynes Find the plants of A. burkittii with flat phyllodes commonly have non-moniliform pods (i.e. prominently rounded over the seeds and scarcely constricted between them); in more arid inland areas the pods are normally +/- moniliform. Specimens with flat phyllodes to 2 mm wide are also occasionally encountered on plants from N.S.W. and S.A., fide P.Kodela & M.D.Tindale, Telopea 7(4): 415 (1998). Specimens with the largest seeds (to 6 mm long and 4.5 mm wide) occur around Paynes Find: there appears to be no taxonomic significance in this character. Specimens with the longer spikes (up to 20 mm) are normally found on some plants with flat phyllodes in the Mt. Magnet - Meekatharra area.

Acacia burkittii is most readily distinguished from A. acuminata by a combination of its narrow (often terete) phyllodes and large, turgid seeds; furthermore, it occurs further inland than most populations of A. acuminata and it commonly has shorter spikes. Difficulties in distinguishing A. burkittii and A. acuminata (narrow phyllode variant) are noted above.

Acacia burkittii was treated as a subspecies of A. acuminata by P.Kodela & M.D.Tindale, Telopea 7(4): 415 (1998). However, recent studies by Maslin et al. (see reference below) have shown that complex patterns of variation exist within these taxa and until this variation is better understood it is considered appropriate to adopt a conservative approach by regarding them as separate species.

Type of accepted name

Lake Gilles in the interior, S.A., Burkitt ; holo: K; iso: MEL, PERTH (fragment).


A. acuminata subsp. burkittii (F.Muell. ex Benth.) Kodela & Tind., Telopea 7(4): 415 (1998). Type: as for accepted name.

A. randelliana W.Fitzg., J. W. Austral. Nat. Hist. Soc . 1: 14 (1904). Type: Mt Malcolm, W.A., July 1899, W.V.Fitzgerald ; lecto (flowering specimen): NSW, fide B.R.Maslin & R.S.Cowan, Nuytsia 9(3): 392 (1994); isolecto: PERTH; 19 km NE of Kanowna, W.A., Nov. 1903, W.V.Fitzgerald ; paralecto (fruiting specimens): NSW, PERTH.


J.H.Maiden, Forest Fl. New South Wales 6(9): pl. 224 (1916); E.R.Rotherham et al ., Fl. Pl. New South Wales and S. Queensland 486 (1975); I.Armitage, Acac. New South Wales pl. 46, 136 (1978); D.J.E.Whibley, Acac. S. Australia 211 (1980); L.Costermans, Native Trees Shrubs S.E. Australia 303 (1981); G.M.Cunningham et al ., Pl. W. New South Wales 348 (1981)

Representative collections

W.A.: 8.4-9.9 km S of Wiluna along road to Leonora, M.McDonald & P.Butcher 2498 (PERTH); Mouroubra Station, 85.5 km S of Paynes Find on road to Beacon, B.R.Maslin 7815 (PERTH). S.A.: c. 102 km N of Cook, 28 km N of Abandant Well, N.N.Donner 7241 (AD, NSW); 21 miles [33.8 km] S of Port Augusta, towards Whyalla, M.D.Tindale 426 (AD, CANB, K, L, NSW, US). N.S.W.: Lake Cargellico, Oct. 1906, J.L.Boorman (B, BRI, CANB, CHR, HUJ LE, MEL, MO, NY, P, PERTH, PRE, TL, US); "Willgareena", N of Cobar, E.D'Arnay & K.Wells (CANB, NSW).


In Fl. Australia this taxon is regarded as as subspecies of A. acuminata , but in WATTLE it is treated as a distinct species. The above account is based both the Fl. Australia treatment and on information presented in B.R.Maslin et al. (1999, unpublished), The Acacia acuminata (Jam) group: an analysis of variation to aid Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) plantation research. (Report to the Sandalwood Business Unit: Department of Conservation and Land Management, Perth.)

WATTLE Acacias of Australia CD-ROM graphic

The information presented here originally appeared on the WATTLE CD-ROM which was jointly published by the Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra, and the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Perth; it was produced by CSIRO Publishing from where it is available for purchase. The WATTLE custodians are thanked for allowing us to post this information here.

Page last updated: Thursday 22 June 2023