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Acacia dictyophleba

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Acacia dictyophleba F.Muell., Fragm. 3: 128 (1863)

Glabrous, resinous, viscid shrub 1–4 m high. Branchlets often sparsely tuberculate. Phyllodes oblanceolate, (4–) 5–7 (–8.5) cm long, (6–) 10–20 mm wide, l:w = 3–7 (–11), obtuse, mucronulate, thickly coriaceous, smooth or asperulate by small tubercles on nerves, green, grey-green or glaucous, the resin sometimes drying white, with 2 or 3 prominent longitudinal nerves, the secondary nerves forming a coarse, open reticulum; basal gland prominent, elongate, 1–3 mm long, an obscure, smaller gland at base of the minute apical point. Inflorescences simple, 1–3 per axil; peduncles 10–20 (–25) mm long, the base ebracteate; heads globular or obloid, 9–13 mm diam. when dry, densely 40–60-flowered, golden. Flowers 5-merous; sepals united almost to apices. Pods stipitate, narrowly oblong, flat, raised over seeds alternately on each side, to 9 cm long, 1–1.6 cm wide, firmly chartaceous, often vernicose. Seeds transverse, c. 4 mm long, arillate.

Widespread in the N and central Arid Zone where it extends from the Pilbara region in W.A. eastwards through southern N.T. and north-eastern S.A. to south-west Qld; particularly common in the region of the Simpson Desert. Grows mainly in deep red or red-brown siliceous sand, on dunes or interdunal areas; sometimes found on shallow stony soils.

Acacia melleodora , A. jensenii and A. sabulosa may ultimately prove better placed as infraspecific taxa of A. dictyophleba . Acacia jensenii and A. sabulosa are most readily distinguished from both A . dictyophleba and A. melleodora by their generally more elongate and predominantly 1-nerved phyllodes. Acacia melleodora is especially close to A. dictyophleba but is usually recognised by its smaller flowers and flower heads and by its generally smaller, less coarsely nerved phyllodes. There are, however, some specimens from W.A. that appear to be intermediate for these characters, fide B.R.Maslin, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 2: 307 (1980).

Some plants from the northern Gibson Desert and the Little Sandy Desert, W.A., are unusual and may represent a distinct taxon. They are spindly, single-stemmed shrubs 3–6 m tall with 2-nerved, rather large phyllodes (mostly 4–6 1–1.5 cm), similar to those found on A. dictyophleba . However, the phyllodes are not thickly coriaceous or coarsely nerved like that species and, furthermore, their heads are only 6–8 mm diam. when dry (smaller than those of A. dictyophleba , but within the range of A. melleodora ). Principally, on account of their distinctive growth habit, these plants were included by B.R.Maslin, Fl. Centr. Australia 132 (1981), under A. jensenii (e.g. 4.8 km W of Well 23, Canning Stock Route, N of L. Disappointment, B.R.Maslin 2275 , CANB, PERTH), but their 2-nerved phyllodes distinguishes them from that species. These spindly plants are favoured by Aborigines for making spears.

The above ‘A. dictyophleba group’ has affinities with the ‘ A. johnsonii group’.

The Aboriginal use of ‘A. dictyophleba’ in central Australia is discussed by P.Latz, Bushfires & Bushtucker 96 (1995) but it is probable that most of the information contained in this account refers to A. melleodora .

Type of accepted name

Mt Humphries, N.T., J.McDouall Stuart ; holo: MEL; iso: K, PERTH.


Racosperma dictyophlebum (F.Muell.) Pedley, Austrobaileya 2: 347 (1987). Type: as for accepted name.


F. von Mueller, Iconogr. Austral. Acacia dec. 8 (1887), as to flower images and fig. 1; D.J.E.Whibley & D.E.Symon, Acacias S. Australia 2nd edn, 185 (1992).

Representative collections

W.A.: about 88 km NW of Wittenoom on the road to Roebourne, B.R.Maslin 5569 (BRI, NSW, PERTH). N.T.: 20 km NNW of Finke Settlement, D.E.Albrecht 5647 (BRI, DNA, NT, PERTH). S.A.: edge of Simpson Desert, 8 miles [12.8 km] W of Purni Well, D.E.Symon 3277 (AD, K). Qld: Hammond Downs, near (E of) Windorah, S.T.Blake 12057 (BRI).


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: Tuesday 24 August 2021