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Acacia cyclops

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Acacia cyclops A.Cunn. ex G.Don, Gen. Hist. 2: 404 (1832)

Western Coastal Wattle , Rooikrans (South Africa)

Shrub to small tree 1–6 m high. Branchlets compressed apically, glabrous. Phyllodes ascending, narrowly oblong to elliptic or obovate, inequilateral, slightly recurved, mostly 4–9.5 cm long, 6–15 mm wide, obtuse or acute, apiculate, coriaceous, glabrous, with 3 or 4 distant main nerves occasionally anatomosing with secondary nerves. Inflorescences 2-headed racemes; raceme axes 3–20 mm long, somewhat compressed, glabrous or appressed-puberulous; peduncles mostly 4–12 mm long, glabrous; heads globular, 5–7 mm diam., 60–75-flowered, golden. Flowers 5-merous; sepals 1/2–3/4-united. Pods linear, slightly raised over seeds, arcuate before dehiscence, to 15 cm long, 7–15 mm wide, thick-coriaceous, glabrous, persistent after seed-fall. Seeds longitudinal, elliptic, 5–7 mm long, glossy, dark brown to black; funicle enlarged, encircling seed in two folds, orange to scarlet.

Widespread and seemingly discontinuous in coastal and near-coastal areas mainly between Denmark and Israelite Bay in south-western W.A., ranging N to Leeman in W.A. and E to near Yorketown and Yorke Penin. in S.A.  A few collections E of Yorke Penin. and on Kangaroo Is., S.A., are doubtfully native; becoming weedy near Adelaide and Port Lincoln (see also below).  Grows mainly in coastal heath or scrubland in loam or sand (often over limestone).

As discussed by R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 12: 420 (1999) it is possible that A. eglandulosa is an earlier, valid name for A. cyclops .

Perhaps related to A. redolens but strikingly different from otherwise similar species by its colourful aril surrounding the seed. Flowers and mature fruit are often found together on the one plant, further distinguishing the species. Also similar to A. veronica .

Acacia cyclops is as drought-tolerant as A. saligna , and is more tolerant to sea spray. It is tolerant of highly saline soils, fide N.Marcar et al ., Trees for Saltland 30 (1995). A. cyclops is grown mainly to stabilise coastal sand dunes notably in north Africa; although its fodder value is inferior to that of A. saligna it produces a dense, high quality fuelwood, fide M.H.El-Lakany, in J.W.Turnbull (ed.), Australian Acacias in Developing Countries 116–117 (1987). Like A. saligna , this species is a major environmental weed in South Africa, fide C.H.Stirton, Plant Invaders 40- 43 (1978).

Type of accepted name

‘Native of New Holland on the south-west coast’; n.v.


Acacia cyclopis J.Mackay ex Loudon, Hort. Brit. 407 (1830), nom. nud.

? Acacia eglandulosa DC., Prodr . 2: 450 (1825); Mm. Lngum. pt. 8, 445 (1827). Type: Australia, herb. B.Delessert 1816 ; holo: G-DC; see R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 12: 420 (1999).

? Acacia mirbelii Dehnh. (as ‘Mirbeli’), Rivista Napol. 1: 168 (1839). Type: not designated. (Judging from the protologue and from specimens at FI, NAP, RO and W it seems that Dehnhardt’s A. mirbeli is the same as A. cyclops .)


F. von Mueller, Iconogr. Austral. Acacia dec. 8 [pl. 3] (1887); E.S.Ayensu, Firewood Crops 97 (1980); L.F.Costermans, Native Trees & Shrubs SE Australia 328 (1981); M.Simmons, Acacias Australia 2: 199 (1988); D.J.E.Whibley & D.E.Symon, Acacias S. Australia 2nd edn, 239 & 241 (1992).

Representative collections

W.A.: 19.5 km SE of Mundrabilla HS, B.Downing 848 (MEL, PERTH); 8 km S of Ravensthorpe on road to Hopetoun, B.R.Maslin 808 (B, K, L, PERTH); Bremer Bay, P.G.Wilson 4304 (MEL, NSW, PERTH). S.A.: c. 1 km N of Moonta on road to Kadina, B.R.Maslin 4542 (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