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Acacia anceps

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Acacia anceps DC., Prodr . 2: 451 (1825)

Bushy spreading shrub to c. 3 m high. Branchlets angled at extremities, glabrous. Phyllodes sometimes continuous with branchlets, normally elliptic to oblanceolate, 3–7 cm long, 1–3 cm wide, obtuse, sometimes retuse, coriaceous, glaucous, sometimes pale green, glabrous; midrib and marginal nerves prominent; lateral nerves often obscure; pulvinus distinct or poorly developed. Inflorescences simple, 1 per axil, initiated synchronously with phyllodes on new shoots; peduncles usually 1–2.5 cm long, stout, glabrous; heads globular, densely 38–154-flowered, golden. Flowers 5-merous; sepals united. Pods narrowly oblong, straight-edged or slightly constricted between seeds, normally to 6 cm long, 10–15 mm wide, firmly crustaceous to woody, pruinose at least when young, glabrous. Seeds (few seen) transverse, oblong to elliptic, 4.5–6 mm long, ±dull, variable in colour, c. 1/2 encircled by red-brown funicle.

Occurs principally in coastal areas from Middle Is., Recherche Archipelago, W.A., to the southern parts of the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas as far as Sturt Bay, S.A. Grows in calcareous sand and shallow red-brown sand, in coastal dune vegetation or open scrub.

Seed colour ranging from uniformly black to dark brown mottled yellow is unusual and requires further investigation. On some plants from W.A. the peduncles are only c. 6 mm long.

A member of the ‘ Acacia microbotrya group’ allied to A. alcockii and A. toondulya ; it also appears to hybridise with A. leiophylla , A. nematophylla and A. notabilis , fide B.R.Maslin & D.J.E.Whibley, Nuytsia 6: 30–31 (1987). In WATTLE A. anceps x nematophylla is keyed and described as a separate taxon.

Much of the variation within this species is accommodated by two phyllode variants, as discussed by B.R.Maslin & D.J.E.Whibley Nuytsia 6: 25 (1987), and based on current evidence these are not considered worthy of formal rank. Intermediates between the two variants occur.

Acacia anceps DC. (typical variant)

The types of both A. anceps and A. anceps var. angustifolia represent the widespread "typical" variant which occurs principally in coastal areas from Middle Is., W.A. to Streaky Bay, western Eyre Peninsula, S.A. This variant is characterised by distinctly pulvinate, oblanceolate phyllodes which are rather long (mostly 3.5–6.5 x 0.8–2.1 cm) and flowers 38–80 per head. It appears to hybridise with the "winged variant" in parts of western Eyre Peninsula, particularly in the Venus Bay and Streaky Bay areas.

Acacia anceps DC. (winged variant)

The second variant occurs mainly in coastal areas (though extending inland on Eyre Peninsula) from Venus Bay, western Eyre Peninsula, to southern Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, S.A. It is distinguished most readily from the "typical variant" by its generally elliptic, less elongate phyllodes (mostly 2.5–5.5 x 1–3 cm) which have a very reduced pulvinus and which are clearly continuous with the branchlets (which are sometimes narrowly winged) along their adaxial edge, and heads 80–154-flowered. As noted above this variant appears to hybridise with the "typical variant" in parts of western Eyre Peninsula; it also hybridizes with A. nematophylla (see A. anceps x nematophylla ). The type of A. muelleri , and probably also those of A. glaucescens and A. pterigoidea , appear to represent an intermediate form. Further study is needed to elucidate the taxonomic status of this "winged variant".

Type of accepted name

Nouvelle Hollande, cote orientali, anonymous [presumably collected by J.Leschenault in 1803 from near Ceduna, S.A., fide B.R.Maslin & D.J.E.Whibley, Nuytsia 6: 23 (1987)]; holo: G-DC; iso: BM, P.


Acacia pterigoidea Seem., Verh. K.K. Gartenbauges. Wien 1846: 11 (1846). Type: a cultivated plant originating from Australia, P.Schmidt ; n.v. , synonymy following B.R.Maslin & D.J.E.Whibley, Nuytsia 6: 23 (1987)

Acacia muelleri Benth., Linnaea 26: 603 (1855); A. megaphylla F.Muell. ex Benth., Linnaea 26: 604 (1855), nom. nud. , in syn., also given in synonymy by F.Mueller, J. Linn. Soc., Bot . 3: 117 (1859). Type: between Mts Dutton and Greenly, S.A. [probably collected by C.Wilhelmi —sphalm. ‘F.Mueller’, fide B.R.Maslin & D.J.E.Whibley, Nuytsia 6: 23 (1987)]; holo: K; iso: MEL 615146.

Acacia anceps var. angustifolia Benth., Fl. Austral . 2: 355 (1864). Type: south coast [of Australia], R.Brown , Iter Australiense no. 4352 [presumably collected by R.Brown in 1802 from Fowlers Bay, S.A., fide B.R.Maslin & D.J.E.Whibley, loc. cit. ]; syn: K; iso: NSW n.v. , fide J.H.Maiden & W.F.Blakely, J. & Proc. Roy. Soc. New South Wales 60: 172 (1927).

Acacia glaucescens F.Cels, Ann. Fl. Pomone 1839–1840: 30, pl. (1839), non Willd. (1806); A. celsiana Ser., Fl. Jard. 3: 483 (1849). Type: a cultivated specimen; n.v. , synonymy following B.R.Maslin & D.J.E.Whibley, Nuytsia 6: 23 (1987)

[ Acacia retinodes auct. non. Schltdl.: E.C.Nelson, J. & Proc. Roy. Soc. W. Australia 57: 110 (1974)]


F. von Mueller, Iconogr. Austral. Acacia dec. 3 (1887); M.Simmons, Acacias Australia 107 (1981); B.R.Maslin & D.J.E.Whibley, Nuytsia 6: 24, fig. 2A–E (1987); D.J.E.Whibley & D.E.Symon, Acacias S. Australia 2nd edn, 81 (1992).

Representative collections

W.A.: Middle Is., A.S.Weston 8932 (PERTH); Eucla, 1882, J.Oliver (MEL). S.A.: Port Lincoln, J.B.Cleland (AD96705036); Yalata Swamp, A.E.Orchard 3205 (AD, PERTH); Ceduna, near Cape Thevenard, B.R.Maslin 4817 (PERTH); Sturt Bay, D.J.E.Whibley 5531 (AD).



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