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Acacia coolgardiensis

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Acacia coolgardiensis Maiden, J. & Proc. Roy. Soc. New South Wales 53: 211; pl. 15, figs 1–7 (1920)

Shrub or tree 1–7 m high, commonly with fluted trunks and main branches. Bark stringy or smooth. Branchlets resinous-ribbed, appressed-puberulous between ribs. Phyllodes patent to ascending, terete, subterete, compressed or flat and linear, narrowly oblanceolate or linear-elliptic, straight to curved, 4.5–15 cm long, 0.7–10 mm wide, acute, coriaceous to rigid, grey-green, light green or silvery, sometimes glaucous, commonly minutely appressed-puberulous between nerves, resinous, with numerous closely parallel nerves. Inflorescences simple, 2 per axil; peduncles 0–8 mm long, appressed-puberulous; heads globular, widely ellipsoid, obloid, or cylindrical, 5–34 mm long, 4–7 mm diam., golden. Flowers 5-merous; sepals free to 1/2 united. Pods patent to pendulous, straight to slightly curved, terete, to 10 cm long, 1.3–3 mm diam., coriaceous, appressed-puberulous between ribs, often resinous. Seeds longitudinal, oblong to broadly elliptic, 2.2–4 mm long, glossy, tan; aril apical.

Often locally common in western-central W.A. from near the Overlander Roadhouse (c. 150 km NNE of Kalbarri) and Northampton E to Barwidgee Stn (c. 85 km SE of Wiluna) and Menangina Stn (c. 110 km NNE of Kalgoorlie) and S to near Holt Rock (c. 100 km NE of Lake Grace), also occurs NE and E of Overlander Roadhouse at Carey Down, Byro and Curbur Stns with a northern outlier near Paraburdoo.

A wide-ranging species comprising three subspecies, one with two variants; further study may necessitate recognition of one or more of these as distinct species. See R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 10: 19, 22 (1995), for discussions of variation.

Probably most nearly related to the A. aneura complex, A. ramulosa in particular, which has very different pods and seeds. Superficially similar to A. isoneura subsp. isoneura .


1 Phyllodes terete, rarely subterete to compressed, filiform, grey-green; flower-heads 5–14 mm long

subsp. coolgardiensis

1: Phyllodes flat, linear to oblanceolate

2 Peduncles 2.5–8 mm long

3 Phyllodes 5–10 mm wide, narrowly oblanceolate, linear-oblanceolate or linear-elliptic, silvery; flower-heads 8–12 mm long

subsp. latior

3: Phyllodes 1–3 mm wide, linear, light green to grey-green or glaucous; flower-heads 12–34 mm long

subsp. effusa (pedunculate-head variant)

2: Peduncles 0–1.5 mm long; flower-heads not more than 10 mm long

subsp. effusa (sessile-head variant)


Acacia coolgardiensis Maiden subsp. coolgardiensis

Sugar brother

Trunks normally fluted and with smooth grey bark, rarely fissured near the base. Phyllodes filiform, terete, rarely subterete or compressed, 5–11 (–15) cm long, 0.7–1 mm diam. Peduncles usually absent; flower-heads globular to widely ellipsoid or obloid, 5–14 mm long, 5–6 mm diam. Sepals commonly free, occasionally to 1/2-united. Pods to 10 cm long, 1.5–2 mm diam.

Widely distributed from Nerren Nerren Stn (c. 80 km NE of Kalbarri) and Northampton, SE to near Holt Rock (c. 100 km NE of Lake Grace) and Menangina Stn (c. 80 km E of Menzies), but also occurs from near the Overlander Roadhouse (c. 90 km N of Nerren Nerren Stn), and also c. 200 km N and NE of Nerren Nerren Stn at Carey Downs, Byro and Curbur Stns, W.A. Grows in a wide variety of soils including granitic or lateritic gravel, sand, sandy loam or loam, often on sandplains, but also on low hills and granite outcrops in shrubland and spinifex.

A few collections from the north of the range have short peduncles to 2 mm long, e.g. A.M.Ashby 4630 (PERTH). Other minor variants are referred to in R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, loc. cit.

Nearest subsp. effusa which is a frequent variant with flat, linear phyllodes, occurring throughout the range of the species. Superficially similar to A. resinosa but is distinguished by its sessile heads, terete pods and non-mottled seeds.

Type of accepted name

Coolgardie, W.A., 1900, L.C.Webster ; lecto: NSW, fide R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 10: 18 (1995); isolecto: K, PERTH; Coolgardie, W.A., 1899, L.C.Webster ; paralecto: NSW.


Acacia boorabbinensis Hochr., Candollea 2: 377 (1925). Type: Boorabbin, W.A., 15 Feb. 1905, B.P.G.Hochreutiner 2946 ; holo: G.


J.H.Maiden, loc. cit.

Representative collections

W.A.: c. 25 km N of Murchison R. on North West Coastal Hwy, A.M.Ashby 4630 (AD n.v. , PERTH); between Carey Downs and Callytharra, J.S.Beard 6848 (NSW, PERTH); Coolgardie, C.A.Gardner 1293 (PERTH); 0.4 km W of Boorabbin Siding, B.R.Maslin 1858 (AD, DNA, PERTH); 97.5 km NNE of Kalgoorlie on road to Edjudina Stn, B.R.Maslin 4849 (PERTH).


Acacia coolgardiensis subsp. effusa Cowan & Maslin, Nuytsia 10: 21 (1995)

Trunks fluted, with smooth bark. Phyllodes linear, 4.5–13.5 cm long, 1–3 mm wide, light green, grey-green or glaucous. Peduncles 0–8 mm long; flower-heads globular to cylindrical, 5–34 mm long, 5–6 mm diam. Sepals free. Pods to 8 cm long, 1.5–2 mm wide.

Widespread from near Mullewa and N of Cleary (Cleary is c. 100 km E of Dalwallinu) NE to near Meekatharra, Barwidgee Stn (c. 85 km SE of Wiluna) and near L. Goongarrie (which is c. 40 km S of Menzies); with an outlier S of Wannoo (c. 155 km N of Northampton) and at Mt Channar (c. 35 km SE of Paraburdoo), W.A. This distribution encompasses the ranges of the two variants recognised within this subspecies. The pedunculate-head variant has essentially the distribution of the subspecies; the sessile-head variant occurs predominantly from near Mullewa and near Yalgoo (Yalgoo is c. 115 km ENE of Mullewa) SE to N of Cleary, with outliers S of Wannoo and E at Comet Vale (c. 100 km NNW of Kalgoorlie). Grows mostly in variously coloured sands or loam, often with a high clay content, on sandplains or flats, also on low hills and granite outcrops, in spinifex with Eucalyptus gonglyocarpa and shrubland with various Eucalyptus and Acacia species, especially A. aneura .

Within subsp. effusa two variants are recognised on the basis of the presence or absence of peduncles (see key above). There is also a correlation between presence or absence of peduncles and the length of the flower-heads: the pedunculate-head variant has heads 12–34 mm long and those of the sessile-head variant do not exceed 10 mm in length. These two forms of the subspecies may ultimately require more formal recognition, but they appear to overlap geographically, as well as morphologically to some extent, and we prefer to treat them as variants, pending more data that will resolve their status more precisely; they appear to hybridise in the Comet Vale area, e.g. L.Haegi 934 (PERTH).

Nearest the typical subspecies which is most readily distinguished by its terete phyllodes. There is a remarkable resemblance between subsp. effusa and A. ramulosa , however, A. ramulosa has very different pods and seeds.

Type of accepted name

17.5 km SE of Mullewa towards Morawa, W.A., 22 Aug. 1973, B.R.Maslin 3356 ; holo: PERTH; iso: CANB, K.

Representative collections

W.A.: 58.9 km S of Overlander Roadhouse on North West Coastal Hwy, M.E.Ballingall 1892 (CANB, PERTH); Sturt Meadows, Leonora district, Nov. 1973, R.F.Maslin (CANB, K, MEL, PERTH); Wanjarri Nature Reserve, D.Pearson DJP55 (PERTH); 78 km N of Kalgoorlie towards Menzies, D.Pearson DJP345 (PERTH); Mt Channar area, P.A.S.Wurm 1522 (PERTH).


Acacia coolgardiensis subsp. latior R.S.Cowan & Maslin, Nuytsia 10: 22 (1995)

Trunks sometimes fluted with fibrous, stringy, grey to black bark. Phyllodes narrowly oblanceolate, linear-oblanceolate or linear-elliptic, 5.5–11.5 cm long, 5–10 mm wide, silvery. Peduncles 4–7 mm long; flower-heads widely ellipsoid to obloid, 8–12 mm long, 5–7 mm diam. Sepals 1/4–1/3-united. Pods 3–6.5 cm long, 2–3 mm diam.

Occurs from Yuna (c. 35 km E of Northampton) NE to between Cue and Mount Magnet and SE to Whitewells Stn, (c. 70 km E of Perenjori), especially frequent in the Mullewa area, W.A. Grows in red sand, rocky clay or clay loam and sandy loam, on sandplains, granite hills or gravelly rises, in shrubland or scrub with mallee-type eucalypts and Acacia spp.

Possibly hybridises with subspecies effusa (sessile-head variant) in the Mullewa-Yalgoo area, e.g. B.R.Maslin 4261 (PERTH).

The much wider, differently shaped, silvery phyllodes of this subspecies give it a quite distinctive appearance and readily separate it from the pedunculate-head variant of subsp. effusa , to which it is most similar; also its pods tend to be thicker and its flower-heads shorter than those of the pedunculate-head variant.

Type of accepted name

6.4 km E of Mullewa towards Yalgoo, W.A., 2 Aug. 1974, B.R.Maslin 3629 ; holo: PERTH; iso: BM, BRI, CANB, G, K, MEL, MO, NSW, NY.

Representative collections

W.A.: Whitewells Stn, 64 km E of Perenjori, J.S.Beard 7367 (PERTH); between Cue and Mount Magnet, W.E.Blackall 81 (PERTH); East Yuna Reserve, A.C.Burns 1A (PERTH); 60 km W of Yalgoo towards Mullewa, B.R.Maslin 3626 (PERTH); Gabyon Stn, A.A.Mitchell 914 (CANB, K, 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