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Acacia genistifolia

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Acacia genistifolia Link, Enum. Hort. Berol. Alt. 2: 442 (1822)

Spreading Wattle , Early Wattle

Open, often straggly, glabrous shrub usually 0.6–3 m high. Branchlet apices ribbed; ribs normally yellow. Stipules sometimes caducous, c. 1 mm long. Phyllodes subdistant, sessile, usually patent to inclined, rather coarse, straight to shallowly recurved, quadrangular to (especially in Tas.) flat, usually 1–4 cm long and 1–3 mm wide, pungent with slender cusp, rigid, green, 4-nerved in all, prominently 1-nerved per face when flat, occasionally imperfectly 2- or 3-nerved; gland 2–4 mm above base. Inflorescences simple, usually 2–4 per axil; peduncles 1–2 (- 3) cm long, rather slender; basal bract caducous; heads globular, 12–25-flowered, cream to rich lemon yellow. Flowers 4-merous; sepals c. 2/3-united. Pods linear, raised over seeds, arcuate to straight, 4–11 cm long, 4–7 mm wide, thinly coriaceous. Seeds longitudinal, 3.5–5.5 mm long; aril terminal.

Common in south-eastern Australia from Dubbo, N.S.W., S through A.C.T. to the Grampians, Vic.; rare in S.A. (N of Mintaro); abundant in N and E Tas., including Flinders and Bruny Islands. Grows in a variety of soils, in dry sclerophyll forest and woodland or heathland below 1000 m alt.

G.Bentham, Fl. Austral. 2: 325, 332 (1864) was unsure of the application of the name A. genistifolia , referring to it under both A. trinervata and A. juniperina (= A. ulicifolia ). Nomenclature and synonymy was subsequently clarified by A.B.Court, Muelleria 2: 157 (1972).

Phyllodes are usually 1–4 cm long and rather widely spreading, but occasionally (especially coastal areas from Wilson’s Promontory N to the N.S.W. border) they may be ascending to erect and may reach 8 cm long. A broad phyllode variant (to 6 mm wide) is recorded for eastern Tas., fide M.Simmons, Acacias Australia 44 (1981) (e.g. saddle below Mt Amos, T. & J.Whaite 2679 , NSW).

Similar to A. aculeatissima which has variably hairy, finely ribbed branchlets and finer, narrower, usually shorter phyllodes with a well-developed pulvinus. Occurs with A. siculiformis near Little Swanport, Tas., where both species are prostrate (M.Simmons, pers. comm.); A. siculiformis has generally shorter peduncles, 5-merous flowers and narrowly oblong to oblong pods.

Recent serological evidence suggest a relationship between A. genistifolia and A. verticillata , see P.Brain & B.R.Maslin (1996), Biochem. Syst. & Ecol. 24(5): 379–392.

Type of accepted name

Cultivated, Berlin Botanic Garden, comm. Schumann; iso: MEL; n.v. , fide A.B.Court, Muelleria 2: 157 (1972).


Phyllodoce genistifolia (Link) Link (as ‘genistaefolia’), Handbuch 2: 133 (1831). Type: as for accepted name.

Acacia diffusa Ker Gawl., Bot. Reg. 8: t. 634 (1 July 1822) (Index Kewensis wrongly attributes description to Lindley); A. daviesioides A.Cunn. ex Don, Gen. Hist. 2: 402 (1832), pro syn. Type: ‘Said to be native of the newly discovered territory on the inland side of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales; and now first introduced by Messrs. Colvill, of the Chelsea Nursery, King’s Road’; n.v. , synonymy following A.B.Court, loc. cit.

Acacia prostrata Lodd., Bot. Cab. 7: t. 631 (Aug. 1822). Type: ‘A native of Van Diemen’s Island: we raised our plants from seeds in 1818, and they flowered two years afterwards.’; n.v. , synonymy following A.B.Court, loc. cit.

Acacia cuspidata A.Cunn. ex Benth., London J. Bot. 1: 337 (1842), nom. illeg. , non Schltdl. (1838); A. diffusa var. cuspidata Benth., Fl. Austral. 2: 333 (1864). Type: Marley’s Plain, N.S.W., Apr. 1824, A.Cunningham 46 ; syn: K; Argyle County, N.S.W., C.Fraser ; syn: K; Vineyard, N.S.W., C.Hugel ; syn: K; SW Coast, C.Fraser ; ?syn: NY.

Acacia cuspidata var. longifolia Benth., Linnaea 26: 610 (1855). Type: Merriman’s Ck, Vic., F.Mueller s.n. ; holo: K.

[ Acacia trinervata var. brevifolia Benth., Fl. Austral. 2: 325 (1864) p.p. , not as to lectotype, as to A. genistifolia Link which is cited in synonymy, see R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 10: 83 (1995).]


N.T.Burbidge & M.Gray, Fl. Austral. Cap. Terr. 199, fig. 193D (1970), as A. diffusa ; L.F.Costermans, Native Trees & Shrubs SE Australia 308 (1981); T.Tame, Acacias SE Australia 100, fig. 95, pl. 95 (1992); D.J.E.Whibley & D.E.Symon, Acacias S. Australia 2nd edn, 103 (1992).

Representative collections

S.A.: c. 10.5 km from Mintaro, on side track off Gap Rd, D.E.Symon 15038 (AD, PERTH). A.C.T.: along Weetangera road N of Black Mtn, R.D.Hoogland 6418 (CANB). N.S.W.: 13.4 km E of Bathurst, R Coveny 4149 (K, NSW, PERTH). Vic.: 14.5 km SE of Knowsley on McIvor Hwy to Heathcote, B.R.Maslin 5858 (MEL, PERTH). Tas.: hills between Forcett and Nugent, J.G. & M.H. Simmons 1705 (PERTH); 8 km N of Whitemark, Flinders Is., 29 Nov. 1952, J.Calaby s.n. (MEL).


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