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Acacia coriacea

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Acacia coriacea DC., Prodr . 2: 451 (1825); Mem. Legum. pt 8, 446 (1827)

Wirewood , Desert Oak , Dogwood , Wiry Wattle

Spreading shrub or tree 1–10 m high. Bark fibrous, hard or thick-spongy. Young new growth yellow-green sericeous. Branchlets sometimes pendulous, slightly angular to terete, glabrous to minutely sericeous. Phyllodes linear, straight to shallowly arcuate, flat or rarely subterete, 12–33 cm long, 1.5–10 mm wide, acute to acuminate, coriaceous to rigid-coriaceous, occasionally subglabrous to sericeous between numerous closely parallel fine nerves. Inflorescences mostly 1- or 2-headed racemes; raceme axes minute, rarely to 6 mm long; peduncles 5–32 mm long, subglabrous to sericeous; heads globular, 3–8 mm diam., 15–50-flowered, pale yellow or cream-coloured. Flowers 5-merous; sepals 1/2–3/4-united. Pods moniliform, twisted and coiled or nearly straight before dehiscence, to 34 cm long, 7–12 mm wide, coriaceous, longitudinally nerved, normally minutely appressed-puberulous. Seeds longitudinal, broadly elliptic, 4–8 long, glossy, black; aril large, bright orange.

Superficially similar to A. stenophylla which has nerveless, woody, indehiscent, moniliform pods, exarillate seeds, more prominent phyllode nerves and inflorescence with a generally well developed axis. Also sometimes resembling A. sibilans in phyllode morphology and has sometimes been confused in some regions with A. calcicola .

Comprised of three subspecies, two restricted to north-western Australia and one widespread across northern central Australia, fide R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 9: 84 (1993).


1 Bark thin, fibrous, hard; flowering peduncles typically 5–10 mm long; pods twisted and coiled before dehiscence

2 Phyllodes erect, almost straight to very shallowly incurved, 1.5–10 mm wide

subsp. coriacea

2: Phyllodes and branchlets pendulous, producing weeping habit; phyllodes shallowly to strongly recurved, 1.5–5 mm wide

subsp. pendens

1: Bark thick, spongy and yellow inside; flowering peduncles mostly more than 10 mm long; pods curved or straight, becoming twisted after dehiscence; phyllodes 1.5–9 mm wide

subsp. sericophylla


Acacia coriacea DC. subsp. coriacea

Bushy shrub or tree 1–3 m high, occasionally semi-prostrate. Bark fibrous, hard. Phyllodes mostly erect, almost straight to very shallowly incurved, flat, 12–22 cm long, 1.5–10 mm wide, silvery green or grey-green. Peduncles 5–10 mm long. Pods twisted and coiled before dehiscence, commonly curved.

Occurs from Dirk Hartog Is. in Shark Bay NE to Point Samson, north-western W.A.; a few disjunct populations N of the Tanami Desert, N.T., are provisionally referred to this subspecies (e.g. R.A.Perry & M.Lazarides 2434 , CANB n.v. , NSW, PERTH), see R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 9: 85 (1993). Grows on sand dunes and plains, infrequently in lateritic of limestone soils, usually in Acacia scrub and shrubland but the disjunct populations in lateritic soil in open eucalypt woodland.

Type of accepted name

Western Australia (sphalm. ‘Nouvelle Holland. cote orient.’), [June- July 1801, N.Baudin Expedition]; lecto: G-DC, fruiting specimen, fide R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, op. cit. 84; isolecto: K, P; paralecto: flowering specimen on type sheet: G-DC, P.


Racosperma coriaceum (DC.) Pedley, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 92: 248 (1986). Type: as for accepted name.


F. von Mueller, Iconogr. Austral. Acacia dec. 6 [pl. 6] (1887); J.H.Maiden, Forest Fl. New South Wales 7: pl. 242L–T (1920).

Representative collections

W.A.: inland of Sandy Point, Dorre Is., J.S.Beard 7092 (PERTH); about 5 km N of Exmouth Gulf HS toward William Preston Point, B.R.Maslin 4757 (BRI, PERTH); 2.2 km E of Bungle Bungle outstation, N.H.Scarlett 84-343 (PERTH).


Acacia coriacea subsp. pendens R.S.Cowan & Maslin, Nuytsia 9: 86 (1993)

Tree, rarely a shrub, 3–8 m high with hard, fibrous bark and gracefully pendulous branchlets and foliage. Phyllodes shallowly to strongly recurved, flat, 15–27 cm long, 1.5–5 mm wide, green, grey-green or silvery green. Peduncles 5–10 mm long. Pods twisted and coiled before dehiscence.

Occurs predominantly in inland parts of the Pilbara, W.A. between the Gascoyne and De Grey Rivers, extending to the coast and islands about Dampier. Grows along inland watercourses in fringing woodland and on stable coastal dunes. Cultivated in north-western W.A.

Type of accepted name

Hamersley Ra. Natl Park, at Coppin Pool, 300 m upstream from crossing, W.A., 12 May 1980, M.Trudgen 2518 ; holo: PERTH; iso: CANB, G, K, NY.

Representative collections

W.A.: 41.5 km W of Gascoyne Junction on the road to Carnarvon, B.R.Maslin 5002 (PERTH); West Lewis Is., Dampier Archipelago, R.D.Royce 7422 (PERTH).


Acacia coriacea subsp. sericophylla (F.Muell.) R.S.Cowan & Maslin, Nuytsia 9: 87 (1993)

Shrubby, normally somewhat gnarled tree 3–10 m high. Bark grey, thick and spongy, yellow inside. Phyllodes often pendent, flat or subterete, 17–33 cm long, 1.5–9 mm wide, light green or grey-green. Peduncles mostly (6- ) 10–20 (- 32) mm long. Pods straight or curved before dehiscence, not markedly twisted or coiled.

Widespread across northern central Arid Zone from W.A. through N.T. and S.A. to Qld and N.S.W. In N.S.W. it is restricted to the Cumborah and New Angledool areas. Grows in red sand and sandy or pebbley loam, mostly in open shrubland over spinifex.

Type of accepted name

Desert along the Suttor R., Qld, F.Mueller s.n. ; holo: MEL (?) n.v. ; iso: K.


Acacia sericophylla F.Muell., J. Proc. Linn. Soc., Bot. 3: 122 (1859). Type: as for accepted name.

Acacia coriacea var. angustior Maiden, Forest Fl. New South Wales 7: 154, pl. 242U (1920). Type: Beta, Qld, June 1913, J.L.Boorman ; syn: NSW183183; Prairie, 30 miles [48 km] E of Hughenden, Qld, 1 Sept. 1913, R.H.Cambage 3961 ; syn: NSW; Prairie, Qld, Sept. 1918, J.R.Chisholm ; syn: NSW183181; New Angledool, N.S.W., Feb. 1900, A.Paddison ; syn: NSW183180.


J.H.Maiden, loc. cit. ; G.M.Cunningham et al. , Pl. W New South Wales 358 (1981); D.J.E.Whibley & D.E.Symon, Acacias S. Australia 2nd edn, 245 (1992); T.Tame, Acacias SE Australia 88, fig. 77, pl. 77 (1992).

Representative collections

W.A.: Cape Keraudren, B.R.Maslin 4864 (CANB, PERTH); 45 km NE of Whim Ck on North West Coastal Hwy, B.R.Maslin 5255 (PERTH). N.T.: 29 km N of Tanami, J.R.Maconochie 1729 (DNA, PERTH). S.A.: N side of Mt Lindsay, D.J.E.Whibley 6629A (AD); Lake Eyre region, Marqualpie Paddock, Innamincka Stn, J.Reid 1635 (AD). QLD: 32 km E of Hughenden Township, N.H.Speck 4527 (NSW, PERTH); Barcaldine, Mitchell District, C.T.White 12348 (BRI). N.S.W.: E of Cumborah, P.L.Milthorpe 3827 & G.M.Cunningham (NSW).


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