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Whacky wattles

Wattles can whistle and whisper

Whistling wattles are found in Africa, where the swollen hollow thorns have holes chewed into them by ants looking for a safe snug home. The wind blows through these holes and makes a wonderful whistling sound.

Whistle like a wattle!

In Australia there are wattles with very fine foliage. When the wind blows though the canopy it produces a very soothing hissing whispering noise, just like the sound that a She-oak makes

Wattles can be prickly

In Africa, the smaller spines were used by early european naturalists to pin their insect collections, while the larger spines are big enough to puncture a car tyre.

Drive carefully!

Wattles can be sweet

But you won't find nectar in their flowers.

Instead pimple-like glands produce nectar ten times as sweet as flower nectar.

You can easily find these on the phyllodes of Golden Wattle Acacia pycnantha.

How sweet are you!

Wattles can have big bits

Acacia karroo has spines up to 20cm long.


Acacia dunnii has phyllodes 46cm by 31cm.

Big baby elephant ears!

Acacia aphanoclada has phyllodes up to 45 cm long.

How long is your ruler!

Acacia celsa can be as tall as 30m high.

How tall are you!

Wattles can be ghostly

The canopy of some wattles is so sparse that you can go straight through it.

The shadow of a ghost!

Wattles can surprise

With flowers that aren't yellow but red or mauve

With seeds that won't grow until you hit them with boiling water

With leaves that aren't leaves but phyllodes

With absolutely no leaves at all

With pimples that taste a treat

With wood that can smell of jam

With bark that needs a second look, the Minni Ritchi

With their insect honeydews that make a great varnish - shellac

With what they're made into…..

So go check out the furniture in your house!

Wattle flowers can be a boys only zone

Wattle flowers look fluffy because they are actually tiny bunches of flowers.

There can be as few as 3 or as many as 500 flowers in a single ball or rod.

Flowers usually contain both male & female parts: many stamens and a stigma.

Wattle flowers often contain just stamens.

Fluffy wattle boys!

Wattle you know wattle you do?

  • What's your fave whacky wattle? Why?
  • Can you name the whacky wattle with phyllodes on steroids!?
  • Make up a whacky wattle quiz for a class talk on Wattle Day.

Page last updated: Thursday 22 June 2023