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Acacia browniana

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Acacia browniana H.L.Wendl., Flora 2: 139 (1819)

Brown’s Wattle

Shrub 0.3– 2 m high. Branchlet indumentum various, sometimes absent. Pinnae mostly 2 pairs, normally 1– 4 mm long (proximal pinnae), 2– 30 mm long (distal pinnae); rachis 1– 10 mm long; pinnules 1– 3 pairs (proximal pinnae), 2– 9 pairs (distal pinnae), ± oblong, 2– 10 mm long, 1– 4 mm wide, flat or recurved to revolute, green or glaucous, glabrous or hairy; gland on rachis at base of pinnae, sessile. Inflorescences simple, 1 or 2 per axil; peduncles 5– 20 mm long, ± slender, normally glabrous; basal bracts persistent; heads globular, sometimes obloid, 4– 6 mm diam., 12– 21-flowered, cream to golden. Flowers 5-merous; sepals c. 3/4-united. Pods narrowly oblong, 1– 4.5 cm long, 5– 9 mm wide, crustaceous, glabrous, rarely pilose. Seeds (unknown for var. endlicheri ) transverse to oblique, oblong to elliptic, 2.5– 4 mm long.

Occurs in south-western W.A., from Bindoon and Mogumber S to Augusta and Manypeaks, with an early collection from Bremer R.

G.Bentham, Fl. Austral. 2: 418 - 419 (1864) included elements of A. browniana under both A. obscura and A. strigosa .

The ‘Acacia browniana group’ comprises A. browniana , A. empelioclada , A. grisea , A. lateriticola , A. leioderma , A. moirii , A. nigricans , A. pentadenia and A. subracemosa , fide B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 394 (1975) and P.Guinet et al. , Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 80: 53 - 68 (1980).

Very polymorphic and further work is required to elucidate the complex variation patterns. Five varieties are recognised but their differences are generally rather subtle, often making identification difficult.


1 Pinnules glaucous, flat

var. glaucescens

1: Pinnules green

2 Pinnule margins obviously recurved to revolute

3 Subshrub 0.3 - 0.5 m high; flower buds subacute; distal pinnae 4 - 25 mm long with 2 - 9 pairs of pinnules

var. endlicheri

3: Shrub 0.5 - 1.5 m high; flower buds ± truncate; distal pinnae usually 2 - 6 mm long with 2 - 5 pairs of pinnules

var. intermedia

2: Pinnules ± flat

4 Subshrub 0.3 - 0.5 m high; flower-heads light golden; branchlet hairs patent

var. endlicheri

4: Shrub 0.5 - 2 m high; flower-heads cream to very pale yellow

5 Branchlet hairs all patent; pinnules hirsutellous on margins; peduncles sometimes puberulous

var. obscura

5: Branchlet hairs usually all or some antrorsely ± appressed; pinnules glabrous or margins sometimes puberulous; peduncles glabrous

var. browniana


Acacia browniana H.L.Wendl. var. browniana

Shrub 0.5 - 1.5 m high. Branchlets puberulous with appressed or subappressed, shallowly incurved hairs, sometimes additionally pilose or (‘western form’) wholly pilose or glabrous. Distal pinnae 2 - 12 ( - 30) mm long; pinnules 2 - 12 pairs on distal pinnae, 2 - 8 mm long, 1 - 2 mm wide, flat, glabrous or margins puberulous; gland 0.3 - 0.5 mm diam. Flower-heads cream to pale yellow.

Occurs from Busselton S to Augusta and Manypeaks, with an early collection from Bremer R., W.A. Grows in lateritic soil in Jarrah ( Eucalyptus marginata ) forest, also in sand near watercourses.

Two allopatric variants are recognised and these possibly hybridise with var. obscura in the Manjimup and Walpole areas, see B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 427 (1975), for details.

The typical variant (variant 1) has most leaves with distal pinnae 2 - 4 mm long, pinnules 2 or 3 pairs, 2 - 4 mm long and glabrous or ciliolate, leaves subtending branchlets sometimes larger and resembling those of the ‘western variant’, i.e. distal pinnae 5 - 15 mm long, pinnules to 8 pairs and to 7 mm long; gland 0.3 - 0.5 mm long. This variant occurs in the Denmark - Bremer R. area, common around Albany (W.A.: Swan R., J.Drummond 5: 16 (FI, G-DC, K, MEL, OXF, P, PERTH, W); c. 15 km S of Mount Barker towards Albany, B.R.Maslin 2980 (BH, BRI, CANB, PERTH); Bremer R., 1884, Webb (MEL49672)).

The western variant (variant 2) has leaves, or individual leaf-parts, larger than above, i.e. distal pinnae 5 - 12 mm long with 3 - 5 pairs of pinnules, sometimes to 30 mm long with up to 12 pairs of pinnules; pinnules 4 - 8 mm long, glabrous; gland 0.5 - 1 mm long. Probably warrants varietal rank. It occurs in the Busselton - Augusta - Manjimup area (W.A.: c. 16 km S of Busselton, B.R.Maslin 2826 (K, PERTH); 7 km W of Manjimup towards Nannup, B.R.Maslin 2863a (PERTH)).

Type of accepted name

Type: iter Australiense [Albany, W.A.], 1802 - 5, R.Brown4321’; neo: BM, lower left-hand specimen on sheet, fide B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 425 (1975), see also B.R.Maslin & R.S.Cowan, Nuytsia 10: 114 (1995).


Acacia browniana is based on the following: Acacia ciliata R.Br., in W.T.Aiton, Hortus Kew. 2nd edn, 5: 465 (1813) p.p. , as to neotype, nom . illeg. , non Humb. et Bonpl. ex Willd. (1809). Type: as for accepted name.

A. strigosa Link, Enum. Hort. Berol. Alt. 2: 444 (1822), nom. illeg. (superfluous); Mimosa ciliata (R.Br.) Poir., Encycl. Meth. (Bot.) Suppl. 5: 530 (1817), nom. inval. (combination not actually made). Type: as for accepted name.

Acacia strigosa var. brevifolia Meisn., in J.G.C.Lehmann, Pl. Preiss. 1: 20 (1844); A. browniana var. brevifolia (Meisn.) Seem., Eur. Acac. 53 (1852); A. ciliata var. brevifolia (Meisn.) J.F.Macbr., Contr. Gray Herb. 59: 9 (1919). Type: [at/near] Stirling’s terrace [Albany townsite], W.A., 22 Nov. 1840, L.Preiss 902 ; syn: C, FI, G-DC, GOET, HBG, K, L, LUND, M, MEL, NAP, P, PERTH, STR, W; see B.R.Maslin & R.S.Cowan, Nuytsia 9: 412 (1994), for note on types.


B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 429, fig. 12G - O & 487, map 6 (1975).


Acacia browniana var. obscura (A.DC.) Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 430; 429, fig. 12V- ZZ & 487, map 6 (1975)

Shrub 1 - 2 m high. Branchlets hirsutellous to ± puberulous, sometimes pilose admixed, the hairs patent, straight or incurved and often tubercle-based. Distal pinnae 5 - 20 mm long; pinnules 2 - 8 pairs on distal pinnae, 2 - 6 mm long, 1 - 2 mm wide, flat or slightly recurved, sparsely to moderately hirsutellous on margins and sometimes the lower surface. Peduncles glabrous or (at least near their base) puberulous; flower-heads cream.

Occurs from Nannup S to Mt Chudalup (near Northcliffe) and Walpole, W.A. Usually grows in loam in Karri ( Eucalyptus diversicolor ) and Karri - Jarrah ( E. diversicolor - E. marginata ) forest.

Possibly hybridises with variants 1 and 2 of var. browniana in the Walpole and Manjimup areas respectively. Sterile specimens from around Manjimup can be confused with A. lateriticola .

Type of accepted name

Cultivated, Jardin de Grenier, Geneve, 19 Mar. 1833; holo: G.


Acacia obscura A.DC., Mem. Soc. Phys. Geneve 6: 605, t. 3 (1834). Type: as for accepted name.


A.P.de Candolle, loc. cit. ; B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 429, fig. V - ZZ (1975).

Representative collections

W.A.: 1.6 km W of Donnelly R. crossing on Manjimup - Nannup road, B.R.Maslin 2864 (BRI, CANB, K, MEL, PERTH); Mt Chudalup, B.R.Maslin 2900 (PERTH).


Acacia browniana var. endlicheri (Meisn.) Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 431; 429, fig. 12A - F & 487, map 6 (1975); Nuytsia 2: 355 (1979)

Subshrub normally 0.3 - 0.5 m high, spreading by subterranean runners. Branchlets hirsutellous to puberulous with patent, straight, often tubercle-based hairs, sometimes additionally pilose, rarely glabrous (the type). Distal pinnae 4 - 25 mm long; pinnules 2 - 9 pairs on distal pinnae, 2 - 6 mm long, 1 - 3 mm wide, flat or recurved, slightly thickened, hirsutellous at least on margins, occasionally glabrous. Flower-heads light golden. Flower buds subacute.

Sporadic from Boddington S to Mount Barker, W.A. Grows in lateritic gravel (sometimes overlain with shallow sand or loam), usually in Jarrah ( Eucalyptus marginata ) forest, occasionally in shrubland.

Sometimes confused with var. intermedia but distinguished primarily by its lower stature, distal pinnae commonly longer, lower surface of pinnules glabrous or at most besprinkled with hairs, and petals not prominently incurved at apices so unexpanded buds are not ± truncate. A few specimens from the Stirling Ra. may be hybrids between the two.

Type of accepted name

Without details, L.Preiss 905 ; lecto: MEL, fide B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 431 (1975); isolecto: PERTH; Plantagenet district [i.e. between L. Matilda, Albany and Two Peoples Bay], Dec. 1840, L.Preiss 888 ; paralecto: LUND, NY.


Acacia endlicheri Meisn., in J.G.C.Lehmann, Pl. Preiss. 1: 21 (1844); A. strigosa var. endlicheri (Meisn.) Benth., Fl. Austral. 2: 419 (1864). Type: as for accepted name.


B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 429, fig. 12A - F (1975).

Representative collections

W.A.: N of Quarderwardup Lake, Stirling Ra., G.J.Keighery 4920 (PERTH); 19.2 km E of Collie towards Darkin, B.R.Maslin 4 (PERTH) and 3202 (PERTH); 6.4 km N of Quindanning towards Boddington, B.R.Maslin 665 (MEL, PERTH); 3 km W of Mount Barker, A.Strid 20383 (C, CANB, G, K, MEL, NY, PERTH).


Acacia browniana var. intermedia (E.Pritz.) Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 428; 429, fig. 12P - U & 487, map 6 (1975)

Shrub 0.5 - 1.5 m high. Branchlets puberulous to shortly pilose, sometimes villous, the hairs ± patent and straight. Distal pinnae 2 - 6 ( - 12) mm long; pinnules 2 - 5 pairs, 2 - 4 mm long, 1 - 1.5 mm wide, with recurved to revolute margins, slightly thickened, sparsely to densely puberulous to hirsutellous. Flower-heads light golden to mid-golden.

Sporadic from Boyagin Rock S to Porongurup Ra., W.A. Grows in shallow sandy or rocky soil, usually in Jarrah ( Eucalyptus marginata ) forest or mallee communities.

Branchlet and pinnule indumentum on specimens from the north of the range is usually more conspicuous than on those from the Stirling and Porongorup Ranges. Sometimes confused with var. endlicheri .

Type of accepted name

Sukey Hill [sphalm. ‘Suckey’s Peak], Stirling Ra., W.A., 31 May 1901, L.Diels 3002 ; lecto: PERTH (Fragment ex B), fide B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 428 (1975); paralecto: NW Plantagenet district, W.A., June 1901, E.Pritzel 350 ; AD, B, E, G-DC, K, L, M, MO, NSW, P, PR, US, Z.


Acacia strigosa var. intermedia E.Pritz., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 35: 312 (1904); A. ciliata var. intermedia (E.Pritz.) J.F.Macbr., Contr. Gray Herb. 59: 9 (1919). Type: as for accepted name.


B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 429, fig. 12P - U (1975).

Representative collections

W.A.: Boyagin Rock Reserve, M.D.Crisp 6658 (PERTH); half way up Bluff Knoll, Stirling Ra., B.R.Maslin 1101 (K, PERTH).


Acacia browniana var. glaucescens Maslin, Nuytsia 2: 356 (1979)

Multistemmed subshrub to 0.4 m high, spreading by subterranean runners. Branchlets appressed-puberulous, pilose or glabrous. Distal pinnae 5 - 20 ( - 30) mm long; pinnules 2 - 6 pairs, 5 - 10 mm long, 3 - 4 mm wide, flat, glaucous, glabrous; gland obscure. Peduncles 10–20 mm long, sometimes to 3 cm long in fruit; flower-heads light golden. Pods 6 - 9 mm wide.

Restricted to between Mogumber and Bindoon, W.A. Grows in lateritic gravel (sometimes overlain with loam) in Wandoo ( Eucalypytus wandoo ) and Jarrah ( E. marginata ) open forest.

An attractive, distinctive taxon possibly worthy of species rank. Differing from the other varieties in its larger, glaucous pinnules and obscure glands. Similiar in habit and flower-head colour to var. endlicheri .

Type of accepted name

c. 8 km due NE of Bindoon, W.A., 2 Aug. 1973, B.R.Maslin 3232 ; holo: PERTH; iso: PERTH.


B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 1: 429, fig. 12D (1975), as var. endlicheri .

Representative collection

W.A.: c. 18 km N of Bindoon on Great Northern Hwy, B.R.Maslin 2794 (AD, BRI, K, MEL, 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