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Botanical name

Common name

Aboriginal name

Description

Characteristic features

Distribution and ecology

Flowering and fruiting period

Taxonomy

Affinities

Notes

Conservation status

Origin of name

References

Acacia coriacea subsp. pendens

Botanical name

Acacia coriacea subsp. pendens Cowan & Maslin, Nuytsia 9: 86 (1993)

Common name

Weeping Wirewood (preferred common name) and Leather-leaf Wattle

Aboriginal name

Warndayin, Warrdang or Partaurru (Yindjibarndi), Bardawurru, Ngarluma or Warrdang (Ngarluma), Warntany, Wandang, Wardany or Warntayin (Kurrama), Warntang (Nyangumarta) and Garnmaja (Thalanyji)

Description

Attractive, shapely trees (2-) 3-10 m tall, single-stemmed or multi-stemmed, crowns bushy with normally gracefully pendulous or sub-pendulous branchlets and foliage. Bark grey, fibrous and longitudinally fissured on main trunks. Branchlets silvery sericeous (hairs short, straight and closely appressed) but becoming glabrous with age. New shoots citron-sericeous (i.e. invested with a dense indumentum of silvery pale yellow or yellow-green hairs). Phyllodes narrowly linear, flat, (13-) 15-23 (-27) cm long cm long, 1-4 mm wide, rather thin-textured, lax (not rigid) and strap-like, wide-spreading with at least some pendulous or sub-pendulous, shallowly to strongly recurved or sometimes shallowly wavy, silvery appressed hairs except oldest phyllodes sometimes glabrous, silvery green or silvery grey-green; with numerous, parallel, closely spaced, fine nerves or uniform prominence or more commonly the central nerve slightly more pronounced than the rest; apex not pungent. Gland indistinct, situated on upper margin of phyllode 1-7 mm above pulvinus. Inflorescences mostly simple and in pairs (often with a new vegetative shoot arising from within axil of peduncles) but sometimes interspersed with rudimentary racemes 0.5-2 mm long; peduncles normally 3-8 (-10) mm long, rarely to 12 mm when in pod, densely golden- or silvery-sericeous when young (hairs straight and closely appressed) but becoming glabrous when in pod; heads not showy, somewhat obscured by the phyllodes, globular, pale yellow to pale lemon yellow, densely (15-) 28-40-flowered. Flowers 5-merous; calyx - dissected. Pods rather persistent on plants following dehiscence, moniliform, 15-32 cm long, 6-13 mm wide, leathery to woody, obviously curved, twisted and/or openly coiled (sometimes into a circle) before dehiscence, often irregularly so, striate with often obvious longitudinal nerves, minutely sericeous with hairs becoming sparse and difficult to see without magnification with age. Seeds longitudinal in pods, obloid-ellipsoid, 4-8 mm long, 4-6 mm wide, dull to sub- shiny, black; aril bright orange and conspicuous, covering at least 1/3 of seed.

Characteristic features

Attractive, shapely trees with normally gracefully pendulous or sub-pendulous branchlets and foliage. Bark fibrous and longitudinally fissured on main trunks. Branchlets silvery sericeous but becoming glabrous with age. New shoots citron-sericeous. Phyllodes narrowly linear, long (mostly 15-23 cm) and often strap-like, 1-4 mm wide, not rigid, at least some pendulous or sub-pendulous, silvery green or silvery grey-green, finely multi-nerved. Inflorescences mostly simple and in pairs but sometimes interspersed with rudimentary racemes; peduncles 3-8 mm (-12) mm long; heads not showy, pale yellow to pale lemon yellow. Pods long (15-32 cm), moniliform, leathery to woody, obviously curved, twisted and/or openly coiled (sometimes into a circle) before dehiscence, often irregularly so, striate -nerved. Seeds partially enclosed by a conspicuous yellow or orange aril. Grows inland from the coast, normally along watercourses.

Distribution and ecology

Occurs in northwest Western Australia between the Gascoyne and De Grey Rivers. This subspecies has a scattered occurrence in inland parts of the Pilbara. In a few places it grows close to the ocean (e.g. around Dampier and on Mardi Station south of Dampier) but is not known to be sympatric with subsp. coriacea. It is typically found in unconsolidated sand along watercourses (often with A. pyrifolia and A. trachycarpa) under a Eucalyptus camaldulensis (River red gum) or E. victrix (Coolabah) canopy, but occasionally is also found on hilltops, scree slopes, granite outcrops and breakaways, always in water gaining situations.

Flowering and fruiting period

Flowers from March to August with the main flush in May and June. Pods with mature seeds have been collected between July and December, the majority in October.

Taxonomy

Acacia coriacea comprises two subspecies, subsp. coriacea and subsp. pendens (see subsp. coriacea for discussion of differences), and until recently also included a third subspecies, subsp. sericophylla, which is now treated as a separate species, A. sericophylla. All three taxa occur in the Pilbara.

Key to subspecies

Dense, spreading shrubs or small trees 1-3 (-4) m tall, occasionally prostrate; branchlets and phyllodes not pendulous; phyllodes 2-7 (-8) mm wide, straight to shallowly or moderately recurved. Coastal dunes.

A. coriacea subsp. coriacea

Shapely trees mostly 3-10 m tall; branchlets and phyllodes normally gracefully pendulous or sub-pendulous; phyllodes 1-4 mm wide, shallowly to strongly recurved or sometimes shallowly serpentinous. Inland from the coast, normally along watercourses.

A. coriacea subsp. pendens

Affinities

Acacia coriacea subsp. pendens is closely related to A. sericophylla , has some affinities with A. sibilans and is sometimes similar to A. stenophylla in its phyllodes and growth form (see these species for discussion of differences).

Notes

Successfully grown for ornamental purposes in northwest Western Australia.

The foliage is reported by Mitchell and Wilcox (1994) to have moderate nutritive value and is eaten by cattle during periods or low rainfall.

The immature yellow bark beneath the grey fibrous outer material is use to make jurnpa (ash) for mixing with chewing tobacco quids (Young 2007). The stems of young plants are also use to make spears while large branches were useful for boomerangs and stabbing spears. Black seeds with contrasting orange-red intact arils were used to make necklaces.

In the wild this plant provides excellent shade and are very attractive to Galahs and White Corellas that tear apart the immature pods to eat the developing seeds (Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation 2003).

Conservation status

Not considered rare or endangered.

Origin of name

The species name is derived from the Latin word coriaceus (leathery) in reference to the texture of the phyllodes. The subspecific name is the Latin word pendens (hanging) in reference to the pendulous branchlets and foliage.

References

Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation (2003). Wanggalili: Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma Plants. pp. 128. (Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation: Roebourne, Western Australia.)

Mitchell, A.A. and Wilcox, D.G. (1994). Arid shrubland plants of Western Australia. Edn. 2. pp. 478. (University of Western Australia Press in association with the Department of Agriculture: Perth.)

Young, L. (2007). Lola Young: Medicine Woman and Teacher. Complied by Anna Vitenbergs. pp. 160. (Fremantle Arts Centre Press: Fremantle.)