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Acacia varia

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Acacia varia Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 456; 458, fig. 24 & 490, map 9 (1975)

Shrub 0.3– 0.6 m high, sometimes prostrate or spreading by subterranean runners. Branchlet indumentum variable, rarely glabrous. Pinnae (1- ) 2- 3 pairs, 2- 6 mm long (proximal pinnae), 4- 9 mm long (distal pinnae); petiole mostly 1- 4 mm long; rachis 1- 5 mm long; pinnules 2- 3 pairs (proximal pinnae), 2- 5 pairs (distal pinnae), oblong, 2- 6 mm long, 1- 2 mm wide, obliquely narrowed at apex, flat to revolute, 1-nerved below, green or grey-green, with indumentum variable; gland on petiole at base of pinnae, sometimes also on rachis, sessile. Inflorescences simple, normally 1 per axil; peduncles 7- 15 mm long, hirsutellous to puberulous, sometimes pilose admixed; spikes 5- 20 mm long (dry), 25- 55-flowered, creamy white to golden. Flowers 5-merous; sepals 1/2- 3/4-united, 5-nerved; petals hirsutellous to puberulous. Pods 1.5- 3.5 cm long, 3- 5 mm wide, puberulous-hirsutellous. Seeds longitudinal to transverse, oblong to elliptic, 2- 3 mm long.

Scattered in south-western W.A., from near Perth and Margaret R. SE to Denmark and Mt Arid.

A very polymorphic member of the ‘ A. drummondii group’. The three varieties recognised may ultimately be shown to warrant species status. The typical variety seems closer to A. luteola than to the other two varieties.


1 Spikes cream to very pale yellow; pinnules flat, often inflexed at apex

var. varia

1: Spikes golden; pinnules flat to revolute, not inflexed

2 Pinnules flat

var. crassinervis

2: Pinnules prominently recurved to revolute

var. parviflora


Acacia varia Maslin var. varia

Subshrub, erect, single-stemmed or sparingly branched at base, spreading by subterranean runners. Branchlets puberulous-hirsutellous and pilose admixed. Pinnules oblong to oblong-oblanceolate, flat or with slightly recurved margins, excentrically apiculate and often shallowly inflexed at apex, hirsute to hirsutellous (the hairs often sparse); gland on petiole, absent from rachis. Spikes usually cylindrical and 10- 20 mm long, loosely 25- 35-flowered, creamy white to pale yellow. Calyx and corolla prominently nerved. Seeds longitudinal to oblique; aril 1/2- 3/4 length of seed.

Sporadic from near Perth S to Margaret R. and Manypeaks, W.A. Grows in sandy loam over laterite usually in Jarrah ( Eucalyptus marginata ) forest.

Distinguished from A. luteola by the pinnules flat and gland on petiole (rarely also on rachis); also, the spikes are only rarely short as in A. luteola (e.g. G.J.Keighery 6808 ).

Type of accepted name

5.6 km from Denmark towards Mount Barker, W.A., 21 Sept. 1972, B.R.Maslin 2949 ; holo: PERTH; iso: CANB, K, MEL, NY, PERTH.


B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 458, fig. 24 (1975)

Representative collections

W.A.: Dardanup to Boyanup, G.J.Keighery 6808 (K, PERTH); Lowden, M.Koch 2000 (AD, K, E, LY, MEL, NSW, P, PERTH); 9.6 km SW of Manypeaks towards Nanarup, B.R.Maslin (AD, BRI, CANB, K, PERTH).


Acacia varia var. crassinervis Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 459; 460, fig. 25 & 490, map 9 (1975)

Subshrub, erect or sometimes sprawling, normally many-stemmed, sometimes spreading by subterranean runners. Branchlets densely puberulous-hirsutellous. Pinnules oblong to oblong-obovate, flat or with slightly recurved margins, excentrically apiculate, thick, grey-green, densely hirsutellous; gland on petiole, absent from rachis. Spikes cylindrical, bright golden. Seeds longitudinal to oblique; aril 1/4- 1/2 length of seed.

Occurs from near Williams and Narrogin SE to Katanning, W.A. Grows in sandy gravel on laterite hills in open woodland.

Type of accepted name

4 km E of Katanning towards Nyabing, W.A., 28 Sept. 1970, B.R.Maslin 771 ; holo: PERTH; iso: B, CANB, K, MEL, NSW, NY.


B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 460, fig. 25 (1975)

Representative collections

W.A.: c. 5 km N of Nyabing towards Kukerin, B.R.Maslin 5843 (AD, K, MEL, MEXU, NSW, PERTH); 126 km N of Kojonup on Albany Hwy, M.D.Tindale 362 & B.R.Maslin (K, PERTH, NSW).


Acacia varia var. parviflora (Benth.) Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 462; 463, fig. 27 & 490, map 9 (1975)

Shrub 0.3- 0.6 (- 1) m high, sometimes prostrate, normally many-stemmed, sometimes suckering from subterranean runners. Branchlets usually puberulous to hirsutellous. Pinnules prominently recurved to revolute, thick, usually densely hirsutellous; gland on petiole, often also on rachis. Spikes obloid to cylindrical, golden. Seeds transverse to oblique; aril c. 1/4 length of seed.

Occurs from Arthur R. and near Northcliffe E to Mt Arid, W.A. Grows in sand, sandy gravel and loam, in Mallee communities.

A variable taxon. Leaves on juvenile plants are considerably larger than those found on adult shrubs, see B.R.Maslin, op. cit . 464, for discussion. A villous variant occurs at Point Ann, Fitzgerald R. Natl Park (e.g. K.M.Allan 345 , CANB, K, NY, PERTH). Plants in Cape Le Grand Natl Park are glabrous (e.g. A.S.George 7466 , PERTH).

Type of accepted name

West Mt Barren and on the hills to eastward, W.A., G.Maxwell ; lecto: MEL49363; isolecto: PERTH, fide B.R.Maslin, , Nuytsia 1: 462 (1975); Arthur R., W.A., A.Oldfield ; paralecto: MEL, PERTH.


Acacia drummondii var. parviflora Benth., Fl. Austral . 2: 419 (1864). Type: as for accepted name.


B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 463, fig. 27 (1975)

Representative collections

W.A.: 9.7 km W of Shannon R., T.E.H.Aplin 2196 (PERTH); N of Mt Arid, A.S.George 14299 (PERTH); 27.5 km S of Kojonup towards Albany, B.R.Maslin 2982 (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