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Acacia buxifolia

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Acacia buxifolia A.Cunn., in B.Field, Geogr. Mem. New South Wales 344 (1825 )

Box-leaf Wattle

Shrub to 4 m high. Branchlets rarely pruinose, glabrous. Phyllodes oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic or narrowly oblong-elliptic with the adaxial margin often straight, 1–3 cm long, usually 2–8 mm wide, l:w = 3–6, acute to obtuse, with normally central mucro, thin to coriaceous, green to glaucous, glabrous or sparsely ciliolate near base; midrib not prominent; lateral nerves obscure or absent; gland sometimes absent, rarely 2, lowermost 3–10 mm above pulvinus. Inflorescences racemose; raceme axes usually 1–4.5 cm long and glabrous; peduncles 2–5 mm long, usually glabrous; heads globular, 7–29-flowered, golden. Flowers 5-merous; sepals united. Pods narrowly oblong, straight or curved, to 7 cm long, 5–7 mm wide, firmly chartaceous, sometimes pruinose, glabrous. Seeds (subsp. buxifolia ) longitudinal, oblong to ovate, 4–4.5 mm long, slightly shiny, black; aril clavate.

Scattered in eastern Australian ranges and adjacent plains from near Tambo, Qld, S through N.S.W. and A.C.T. to Warby Ra. near Wangaratta and Omeo, Vic.

J.H.Maiden, Forest Fl. New South Wales 5: 78–85, pl. 165 (1911), regarded A. leucolobia and A. lunata as conspecifc with A. buxifolia . These three species are certainly closely related and are treated here as separate species, rather than subspecies of A. lunata . Acacia buxifolia is widespread from Vic. to Qld, the other two species have rather restricted distributions in N.S.W., A. leucolobia predominating in the Eumungerie- Bathurst area ( A. buxifolia subsp. buxifolia also occurs in this region) and A. lunata occurring further E, principally in the Richmond- Putty area. The three species appear to come together in the Blue Mtns where it is often difficult to tell them apart. Acacia neglecta was based, in part, on Blue Mtn specimens and these may represent intermediate forms; A. brevifolia probably represents this same entity. Unfortunately the types of these two species have not been seen. Detailed field and laboratory studies are needed (especially in the Capertee- Blackheath area) to strengthen the distinction between these three taxa, to elucidate the complex variation patterns within them, to ascertain whether or not hybridity is contributing to the phenotypic variation and to ascertain the status of A. brevifolia and A. neglecta .

In general (Blue Mtns populations excepted) A. buxifolia subsp. buxifolia is distinguished from A. leucolobia by its, narrower, more elongate, acute to subacute phyllodes which often have a straight adaxial margin (convex in A. leucolobia ) and non-pruinose young branchlets and racemes. From A. lunata it is distinguished by its phyllode shape and more numerous flowers per head.

Acacia buxifolia may resemble A. decora and is sometimes confused with A. brachybotrya .

Two subspecies are recognised.

Flowers 7–12 per head. Phyllodes normally 1–3 cm long and acute to subacute; gland often absent from some phyllodes

subsp. buxifolia

Flowers 17–29 per head. Phyllodes normally 1.5–4 cm long and obtuse; gland never absent, sometimes 2

subsp. pubiflora


Acacia buxifolia A.Cunn. subsp. buxifolia

Shrub to 2 m high sometimes 3–4 m. Branchlets not pruinose. Phyllodes oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic or narrowly oblong-elliptic, 1–3 cm long, usually 2–6 mm wide, normally acute to subacute, green to glaucous; gland often absent from some phyllodes. Racemes normally 1–3 cm long, axes and peduncles glabrous; heads 7–8 mm diam. at anthesis (fresh), 7–12-flowered. Calyx 1/3–2/5 length of corolla, the tube glabrous to subglabrous. Pods 5–6 mm wide.

Scattered from Stanthorpe, Qld, S through N.S.W. and A.C.T. to Warby Ra. near Wangaratta and Omeo, Vic. Grows in a variety of habitats but commonly on rocky ridges in open scrub or Eucalyptus forest or woodland.

Some specimens from Vic. have unusually wide phyllodes to 1 cm (e.g. Beechworth Gorge, E.M.Canning CBG28854 , CANB). Another variant from Vic. occurs at Splitters Ck, between Suggan Buggan and Wulgulmerang (e.g. W.Molyneux & S.Forrester , PERTH01350552). These are dwarf plants to 0.5 m high, which spread by suckering and do not seem to set fruit. Their phyllodes are small (c. 1 cm long and 2 mm wide) and resemble A. lunata in often having a straight abaxial margin. In WATTLE this variant is keyed and described separately, as A. tabula . Dwarf variants of A. boormanii and A. pravissima occur in this same area: in WATTLE these two variants are treated as A. infecunda and A. nanopravissima respectively.

Sometimes resembles A. pravissima hybrids (north-eastern Vic.) in phyllode shape and size but these have more angled branchlets and a prominent gland.

Type of accepted name

Macquarie R., N.S.W., on pine ridges (sphalm. ‘ranges’ in protologue), Oct. 1822, A.Cunningham 217 ; probable holo: K.


Racosperma buxifolium (A.Cunn.) Pedley, Austrobaileya 2: 346 (1987); Racosperma buxifolium (A.Cunn.) Pedley subsp. buxifolium , Austrobaileya 2: 346 (1987). Type: as for accepted name.

? Acacia brevifolia G.Lodd., Bot. Cab. 13: t. 1235 (1827), non (F.Muell. ex Benth.) Benth. (1864), nom . nud . (plate not accompanied by analysis).

? Acacia brevifolia G.Lodd. ex G.Don, Gen. Hist. 2: 406 (1832). Type: ‘Native of New South Wales’; n.v.

? Acacia neglecta Maiden & R.T.Baker, Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales ser. 2, 9: 163; pl. 13 (1894); A. buxifolia var. neglecta (Maiden & R.T.Baker) Maiden, Wattles & Wattle-Barks 3rd edn, 60, 68 (1906). Type: ‘Bowenfels and Rylestone District, and other trans- Blue Mtns localities’; n.v. , synonymy following L.Pedley, Austrobaileya 1: 280 (1980), see discussion below.


W.J.Hooker, Icon. Pl. 2: t. 164 (1837); J.H.Maiden, Forest Fl. New South Wales 5: pl. 165H–Q (1911); N.T.Burbidge & M.Gray, Fl. Austral. Cap. Terr. 197, fig. 192C (1970); L.F.Costermans, Native Trees & Shrubs SE Australia 313 (1981).

Representative collections

Qld: New England Hwy, near Stanthorpe council tip, W.J.F.McDonald 387 (BRI). N.S.W.: Mt Naman, Warrumbungle Ra., A.Cassey (NSW178649); Mundoonen Nature Reserve, 15 km E of Yass on Hume Hwy to Goulburn, B.R.Maslin 5889A (NSW, PERTH). A.C.T.: E slopes of Black Mtn, R.D.Hoogland 8558 (AD, C, MO, PERTH). Vic.: The Bowen Mtns, N end of Splitters Ra. road, A.C.Beauglehole 36868 (MEL).


Acacia buxifolia subsp. pubiflora Pedley, Austrobaileya 1: 281 (1980)

Shrub to 3.5 m high. Branchlets occasionally pruinose. Phyllodes oblanceolate to narrowly oblong-elliptic, mostly 1.5–4 cm long, 4–8 mm wide, obtuse, rarely subacute, grey to glaucous; glands sometimes 2, never absent. Racemes 2–4.5 cm long, sometimes to 8 cm in N.S.W.; axes and peduncles glabrous, sometimes sparsely appressed white-hairy in N.S.W.; heads 17–29-flowered; bracteoles black, more obvious in mature buds than in subsp. buxifolia . Calyx c. 1/2 length of corolla, the tube puberulous; petal apices often brown to black. Pods (few seen) 7 mm wide.

Scattered in the ranges of eastern Australia from Mt Playfair near Tambo, Qld, S to near Tenterfield, N.S.W. Normally grows on sandstone or gravelly clay or loam in open forest.

May superficially resemble A. amoena which is readily distinguished by phyllodes with 2–4 exserted glands, heads 6–12-flowered, sepals free to c. 1/2-united and seeds encircled by a red-brown funicle.

Type of accepted name

Gurulmundi, Qld, 17 Aug. 1973, L.Pedley 4125 ; holo: BRI; iso: A n.v ., BRI, CANB, K, L n.v.


Racosperma buxifolium subsp. pubiflorum (Pedley) Pedley, Austrobaileya 2: 346 (1987). Type: as for accepted name.


B.A.Lebler, Wildfl. SE Queensland 2: 56 (1981).

Representative collections

Qld: Mt Playfair, 1890, Mrs Biddulph s.n. (MEL104105); Stanthorpe District, Severn R. Falls, 26 Aug. 1973, W.J.F.McDonald s.n. (BRI). N.S.W.: 23.3 km by road SSE of Bonshaw, R.Coveny 6644 & P.Hind (A n.v ., AD n.v ., B n.v ., BRI, CANB, G n.v ., MEL, NSW, NY n.v ., 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