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Acacia brownii

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Acacia brownii (Poir.) Steud. (as ‘brownei’), Nomencl. Bot. 2 (1821)

Heath Wattle , Prickly Moses

Closely related to A. ulicifolia but distinguished in the following ways. Sprawling, commonly semi-prostrate shrub less than 1 m high. Branchlets glabrous or sparsely hirsutellous. Stipules frequently caducous, usually less than 1 mm long. Phyllodes often distant, linear, slender, quadrangular-terete to flat with a pronounced midrib, 8–25 mm long, neither broadening nor with a gland-angle at base. Flower-heads bright golden to deep golden.

Occurs in the Great Divide of eastern Australia from the Grampians, Vic., through N.S.W. to Burra Burri in Qld. Grows in sand, in heath or dry sclerophyll woodland or open forest. Flowers July- Nov.

The complex nomenclature of this name and that of A. ulicifolia is discussed by A.B.Court, Victorian Naturalist 73: 173 (1957) and Muelleria 2: 155–156 (1972), and L.Pedley, Austrobaileya 1: 239–241 (1980). In order to retain the current name for this species it is assumed that Steudel based his combination on Mimosa brownei Poir., even though the latter name was not cited.

The epithet ‘brownii’ is used in preference to ‘brownei’, see N.Hall & L.A.S.Johnson, The Names of Acacias of New South Wales 31 (1993).

Acacia brownii is sometimes treated as a variety of A. ulicifolia ; and the two species possibly form hybrids (see A. ulicifolia for discussion; see also A. brachycarpa ). The characters distinguishing these sometimes sympatric taxa are given above, however, they are not sharply delimited and herbarium material is sometimes difficult to identify with certainty. The phyllodes of A. brownii resemble those of the acicular variant of A. maitlandii from central Australia, which is distinguished its habit (spindly open shrub), viscid branchlets, pulvinate phyllodes ( A. brownii is subsessile) and flowers more numerous in the heads (20- 35-flowered in A. brownii ).

Type of accepted name

Mimosa ericaefolia’, Port Jackson, N.S.W., Oct. 1803, R.Brown—central right hand specimen on sheet titled ‘Iter Australiense, 1802-5’ and bearing [Britten no.] 4300 ; neo: BM (flowering specimen), fide B.R.Maslin & R.S.Cowan, Nuytsia 10: 111 (1995).


Mimosa brownei Poir., Encycl. Meth. (Bot.) Suppl. 5: 530 (1817), based on A. acicularis R.Br.; Acacia acicularis R.Br., in W.T.Aiton, Hortus Kew . 2nd edn, 5: 460 (1813), nom. illeg. , non Willd. (1806); A. pugioniformis H.L.Wendl., Flora 2: 139 (1819), nom. illeg. (based on A. acicularis R.Br.); A. brownei Steud. ex DC., Prodr . 2: 449 (1825), this reference is given in L.Pedley, Austrobaileya 1: 239 (1980), however, Candolle correctly attributed the combination to Steudel; A. juniperina var. brownei (Poir.) Benth., Fl. Austral. 2: 332 (1864); A. ulicifolia var. brownei (Poir.) Pedley, Austrobaileya 1: 239 (1980); Racosperma brownei (Poir.) Pedley, Austrobaileya 2: 346 (1987). Type: as for accepted name.

Acacia arceuthos Spreng., Syst. Veg. 16th edn, 3: 134 (1826). Type: Australia [N.S.W.], F.Sieber 463 ; iso: A, FI, G-DC, HAL, MEL, NSW, TO.


E.R.Rotherham et al. , Fl. & Pl. New South Wales & S Queensland 32 (1975); L.F.Costermans, Native Trees & Shrubs SE Australia 308 (1981); T.Tame, Acacias SE Australia 97, fig. 90, pl. 90 (1992).

Representative collections

Qld: on southern slopes of Cockatoo Ridge, M.G.Lithgow 961 (MEL). N.S.W.: Blue Mtns Natl Park, c. 15 km due S of Glenbrook, B.R.Maslin 5889 (NSW, PERTH); Khyber Pass, M.D.Crisp 1289 (CANB, PERTH). Vic.: 6.4 km NE of Genoa P.O., A.C.Beauglehole 32837 (MEL, PERTH); c. 19 km due NNE of Moe, B.R.Maslin 5470 (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