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Acacia longifolia

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Acacia longifolia (Andrews) Willd., Sp. Pl . 4: 1052 (1806)

Spreading shrub or erect tree, 1.5–10 m high, 1–25 m wide. Stipules deltate, less than 1 mm long or obscure. Phyllodes linear to elliptic, 5–25 cm long, 10–35 mm wide, acute or rounded-obtuse, sometimes abruptly contracted at apex into mucro, with 2–4 prominent primary veins, the secondary veins frequently anastomosing, prominent; gland basal or almost so; pulvinus present. Inflorescences usually without peduncles. Spikes solitary or twinned, 2–5 cm long; peduncles mostly absent; bracteoles caducous, cucullate, 0.3–0.5 mm long, with ciliate margins. Flowers 4-merous; sepals united. Pods cylindrical or subcylindrical, sometimes moniliform, 5–15 cm long, 4–10 mm wide, commonly firmly coriaceous. Seeds elliptic, sometimes irregularly shaped, 4–6 mm long, shiny; funicle folded several times into a thickened lateral skirt-like aril.

Distinguished by its phyllodes with prominent anastomising veins, smooth margins, conspicuous basal gland and commonly lemon-yellow spicate inflorescence. It is similar to A. obtusifolia , but lacks resinous margins on the phyllodes and usually flowers during spring. See also A.alpina, A. courtii , A. dallachiana , A. longissima and A. maidenii .

Two subspecies are here recognised within this taxon but some authors, including D.R.Murray et al. , Austral. J. Bot. 26: 755–771 (1978) and L.Pedley, Austrobaileya 1: 164 (1978), treat A. longifolia and A. sophorae as distinct species. These views do not appear to be tenable and the author follows the same view as expressed by D.J.E.Whibley & D.E.Symon, Acacias S. Australia 2nd edn, 266 (1992). Subsp. sophorae occurs mainly along the coastal strip and subsp. longifolia occurs more towards the hinterland. However, in some localities the two subspecies appear to grade almost imperceptively into one another, for example in the Bargo-Wollongong district S of Sydney, N.S.W.

Phyllodes 5–20 cm long and 5–15 mm wide,  mostly broadest near or below the middle, mostly thin and pliable, commonly narrowing gradually towards the apex. Pods mostly straight. Near-coastal tracts and hinterland

subsp. longifolia

Phyllodes 5–12 cm long and 10–30 mm wide, often thick and sometimes fleshy, mostly broadest near or above the middle, commonly narrowing more or less abruptly towards the apex. Pods mostly coiled or contorted. Mostly coastal

subsp. sophorae


Acacia longifolia (Andrews) Willd. subsp. longifolia

Sydney Golden Wattle, Sallow Wattle.

Commonly an erect shrub or small tree to 10 m high. Phyllodes erect or spreading, 5–20 cm long, 5–15 mm wide, thin, pliable, mostly dark green. Pods usually straight, mostly coriaceous.

Widespread in eastern N.S.W. and eastern Vic., with an isolated occurrence very close to the Qld/N.S.W. border in the Tenterfield district and apparently occurring as an adventive in S.A. and southern Vic. Flowers June–Oct. and usually fruits Dec.–Jan.

This subspecies grades almost imperceptively into subsp. sophorae . However, the phyllodes of subsp. longifolia are thinner and more pliable. They are also usually wider at or below the middle while those of subsp. sophorae are mostly wider at or above the middle. The phyllodes of subsp. longifolia also narrow gradually towards the apex while those of subsp. sophorae usually narrow abruptly.

Type of accepted name

Based on a cultivated specimen collected by White grown at Fulham near London from seeds forwarded from N.S.W. but apparently not preserved; lecto, fide A.B.Court (to be published in Appendix to Fl. Australia vol. 11, 2001).


Mimosa longifolia Andrews, Bot. Repos. 3: t. 207 (1802); Phyllodoce longifolia (Andrews) Link, Handbuch 2: 133 (1831); M. macrostachya Poir., Encycl. Suppl. 1: 61 (1810), nom. illeg. ; Acacia longifolia var. typica Benth., Fl. Austral. 2: 398 (1864), nom. inval. Type: as for accepted name.

Acacia longifolia var. latifolia Sweet, Hort. Brit. 2nd edn, 165 (1830). Type: Bot. Mag. 47: t. 2166 (1820).

Doubtful names

Acacia longifolia var. angustata Seem, var. bylongensis R.T.Baker, var. lanceolata Seem., var. prostrata C.Moore & Betche and var. glauca Hort. ex Jacques: see Doubtful Names.


J.H.Maiden, Forest Fl. New South Wales 6(6): pl. 213, figs A–I (1915); D.J.E.Whibley, Acacias S. Australia fig. 85A (1980); D.J.E.Whibley in H.R.Toelken & J.P.Jessop (eds), Fl. S. Australia 2: fig. 274A (1986), as A. longifolia var. longifolia ; L.F.Costermans, Native Trees Shrubs SE Australia 304, fig.A (1981); M.H.Simmons, Acacias Australia 2: 259 [left illustration] (1988); T.Tame, Acacias SE Australia 33, fig. a–e, pl. 6a (1992), as A. longifolia var. longifolia ; D.J.E.Whibley & D.E.Symon, Acacias S. Australia 2nd edn, fig. 105A, L, S (1992).

Representative collections

N.S.W.: 5 miles (8 km) SW of Wallangarra, 17 Aug. 1904, J.L. Boorman s.n. (NSW); 26.9 km from Bowenfels near Lithgow, N.Hall H84/69 (NSW); Hanging Rock N of Marulan, P.Hind 5474 (MEL, NSW); Vic.: Captain Cook Natl Park, A.C.Beauglehole 33493 (MEL, NSW).


Acacia longifolia subsp. sophorae (Labill.) Court (ms), to be published in Appendix to Fl. Australia vol. 11 (2001)

Coast Wattle.

Spreading, tangled, rarely erect, shrub to 5 m high, 15 m or more wide. Phyllodes linear or narrow elliptical, 5–12 cm long, 10–30 mm wide, rounded obtuse or sometimes with a small mucronate point, subcoriaceous, sometimes fleshy, often yellowish green. Pods commonly coiled or contorted, sometimes drawn out into long beak, often firmly coriaceous.

Widespread principally in coastal tracts of southern and eastern continental Australia from the southern Eyre Penin. in S.A. along the southern and eastern seaboards as far north as south-east Qld and S to the coasts of Tas., including the Islands of Bass Strait. Flowers July–Oct. and fruits Nov.–Jan.

Hybrids with A. oxycedrus are keyed and described separately in WATTLE, as A. oxycedrus x sophorae .

The natural distribution of these two subspecies is confused. It seems likely that A. longifolia subsp. longifolia is spreading rapidly in southern Australia and is now common in places, possibly as a garden escape. Its natural distribution is not clear, but its original habitats appear to be in eastern N.S.W. and eastern Vic. The distribution of A. longifolia subsp. sophorae is much wider and ranges from SE Qld through eastern N.S.W. to the southern Eyre Penin. in S.A. and to northern Tas. It seems to hybridise readily with A. oxycedrus ( q.v. ).

A small population with short broad dark green phyllodes not yet assigned to either subspecies of A. longifolia occurs on the summit of Numbulla Mtn N of Bega, N.S.W.

Type of accepted name

Tasmania, coll. unknown [? J.J.H.de Labillardiere ], Herb. Ventenat n.v. , fide L.Pedley, Austrobaileya 1: 164 (1978); D.J.E.Whibley & D.E.Symon, Acacias S. Australia 2nd edn, fig. 105B (1992).


Mimosa sophorae Labill., Nov. Holl. Pl. 2: 87, t. 237 (1807); Acacia sophorae (Labill.) R.Br. in W.T.Aiton, Hortus Kew. 2nd edn 5: 462 (1813); Phyllodoce sophora Link, Handbuch 2: 133 (1831); Racosperma sophorae (Labill.) Mart. (as ‘sophora’), Hort. Reg. Monac. (1835); Cuparilla sophorae (Labill.) Raf. (as ‘sophorina’), Sylva Tellur. 120 (1838); A. longifolia var. sophorae (Labill.) F.Muell., Pl. Victoria 2: 30 (1863), nom. inval. [not effectively published, fide A.B.Court, R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 9(3):315–318 (1994)]; A. longifolia var. sophorae (Labill.) Benth., Fl. Austral. 2: 398 (1864); A. longifolia f. sophorae (Labill.) Siebert & Voss, Vilm. Blumengrtn. edn 3, 1: 228 (1896). Type: as for accepted name.


J.H.Maiden, Forest Fl. New South Wales 6(6): pl. 213, figs K–M (1915); D.J.E.Whibley, Acacias S. Australia fig. 85B (1980), as A. longifolia var. sophorae ; L.F.Costermans, Native Trees Shrubs SE Australia 304, fig.B (1981), as A. longifolia var. sophorae ; D.J.E.Whibley in J.P.Jessop & H.R.Toelken (eds), Fl. S. Australia 2: fig. 274B (1986), as A. longifolia var. sophorae ; B.A.Lebler, Wildfl. SE Queensland 2: 19 (1981), as A. sophorae ; T.Tame, Acacias SE Australia 33, fig. f–g, pl. 66 (1992), as A. longifolia var. sophorae .

Representative collections

S.A.: Sleaford Bay near Port Lincoln, 28 Aug. 1964, M.E.Phillips s.n. (CANB). Qld: Caloundra, Sept. 1906, F.H.Kenny s.n. (BRI). N.S.W.: Kings Ck, P.Gilmour 5832 (CANB); Caves Beach, Jervis Bay, J.Taylor 1195, J.Rymer & R.Jackson (CANB); 3.5 km SE of Tanja, C.Tyrrel 125 (CANB). Vic.: Nelson, near mouth of the Glenelg [R.], S.J.Midgely 509 (CANB); Mallacoota Surf Beach, M.E.Phillips 41 (CANB). Tas.: South Arm, F.H.Long 531 (CANB); Bruny Is., 6 Sept. 1962, D.W.Shoobridge s.n. (CANB).


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