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Acacia leptospermoides

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Acacia leptospermoides Benth., Linnaea 26: 626 (1855)

Shrub commonly 0.3–2 m high. Branchlets glabrous or puberulous with hairs normally appressed. Stipules caducous, connate, c. 2 mm long. Phyllodes linear to narrowly oblong, obovate, oblanceolate or orbicular, planoconvex or subterete to horizontally flattened, 3–17 mm long, 1–7 mm wide, obtuse, fleshy, often sulcate when dry, glaucous at least when young (colour unknown for subsp. psammophila ), usually glabrous, superficially nerveless or faintly 3-nerved below and 1-nerved above; gland on upper surface near or above middle of phyllode. Inflorescences simple, 1 or 2 per axil; peduncles 4–12 mm long, glabrous; heads showy, globular, 4–5 mm diam., densely 20–35-flowered, golden. Flowers 5-merous; sepals free or sometimes 1/2-united. Pods linear, slightly constricted between seeds, shallowly arcuate to openly once-coiled, to 3 cm long, 1.5–2 mm wide, thinly coriaceous-crustaceous, longitudinally reticulate, glabrous. Seeds longitudinal, oblong to elliptic, 2.5–3 mm long, shiny, mottled or solid brown; aril oblique.

Occurs from Shark Bay SE to Cranbrook and Wagin, south-western W.A.

A diaphyllodinous species (see under A. diaphyllodinea for definition and references concerning diaphyllodes) sometimes confused with A. spathulifolia or A. binata . Close to A. ericifolia and perhaps not specifically distinct (see under subsp. leptospermoides ). Also similar to A. vassalii .

The Maxwell specimen from Mt Barren cited by G.Bentham, Fl. Austral. 2: 383 (1864) is unlikely to be A. leptospermoides.

Three subspecies are recognised based primarily on phyllode shape and size. Herbarium material suggests that in places the typical subspecies intergrades with the other two.


1 Phyllodes 1–2 mm wide

2 Phyllodes some at least >7 mm long, linear to narrowly oblong, glaucous when young (widespread)

subsp. leptospermoides

2: Phyllodes 3–7 mm long, obovate to narrowly oblong-oblanceolate, colour unknown (E of Geraldton)

subsp. psammophila

1: Phyllodes >2 mm wide

3 Phyllodes obovate to orbicular, l:w = 1–2 (Murchison R. area)

subsp. obovata

3: Phyllodes oblanceolate to narrowly oblong-oblanceolate, l:w = >2 (widespread)

subsp. leptospermoides


Acacia leptospermoides Benth. subsp. leptospermoides

Shrub 0.4–2 m high, occasionally to 3 m or prostrate. Branchlets glabrous or appressed-puberulous with short, straight hairs. Phyllodes linear to narrowly oblong or (when broad) oblanceolate, planoconvex or subterete to horizontally flattened, 7–17 mm long, 1–6 mm wide, l:w = 3–15. Pods strongly arcuate to openly once-coiled.

Widespread from Dirk Hartog Is. SE to Cranbrook and to near Wagin, W.A. Grows in gravel, sand, sandy loam and sandy clay in often low and open eucalypt woodland and tall shrubland.

As discussed by B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 2: 210–213 (1978), the phyllodes of subsp. leptospermoides vary considerably. Specimens with narrow phyllodes closely resemble A. ericifolia which has villous, non-glaucous phyllodes that are more obviously infolded or channelled adaxially when dry, and short, loosely villous to appressed-pilose hairs on the branchlets, the hairs being curved or subcrispate. Some specimens from the Shark Bay area (e.g. A.S.George 11498 , AD, CANB, K, MEL, NY, PERTH) are unusual in having broad, oblanceolate phyllodes of subsp. leptospermoides but the young phyllodes and branchlets villous as in A. ericifolia . Acacia binata also resembles narrow phyllode forms of A . leptospermoides ; also superficially similar to A. sulcata var. planoconvexa .

Type of accepted name

Swan R., W.A., J.Drummond 4: 11 ; holo: K; iso: MEL, OXF, P, PERTH (Fragment ex MEL), TCD; probable iso: NSW.


Acacia spathulata F.Muell. ex Benth., Fl. Austral . 2: 356 (1864) p.p. , as to Shark Bay and Dirk Hartog Is., Milne ; syn: K.

Acacia ericifolia var. crassa E.Pritz., Bot. Jahrb. Syst . 35: 294 (1904) p.p. , as to Mogumber, 31 Aug. 1901, L.Diels 4058 PERTH (Fragment ex B), not as to lectotype.

Acacia ericifolia var. glaucescens E.Pritz., loc. cit . Type: west of Moora, W.A., 12 June 1901, L.Diels 3097 ; lecto: PERTH (Fragments ex B), fide B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 2: 211 (1978).

Acacia ericifolia var. tenuis E.Pritz., loc. cit . Type: Greenough R. crossing, near Mullewa, W.A., 1901, L.Diels 4212; lecto: PERTH (Fragment ex B), fide B.R.Maslin, loc. cit .


B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 2: 210, fig. 4L–R (1978).

Representative collections

W.A.: Swan R., J.Drummond 2: 141 (CGE, G, K, LD, NSW, OXF, P); Dirk Hartog Is., A.S.George 11498 (AD, CANB, K, MEL, NY, PERTH); 11.3 km NW of Wongan Hills towards Piawaning, M.D.Tindale 2792 (AD, CANB, K, MEL, NSW, PERTH, UC, US); along Jaloran Rd, 10.6 km NE from Wagin, R.S.Cowan A856 & R.A.Cowan (NY, PERTH, US).


Acacia leptospermoides subsp. psammophila (E.Pritz.) Maslin, Nuytsia 2: 213; 210, fig. 4H–K & 217, fig. 7 (1978)

Spreading shrub 0.3–1.2 m high. Branchlets glabrous or puberulous with hairs spreading or appressed and straight or subcrisped. Phyllodes obovate to narrowly oblong-oblanceolate, planoconvex to horizontally flattened, shallowly concave above when dry, 3–7 mm long, 1–2 mm wide, l:w = 2–5, thick. Pods strongly arcuate to openly once-coiled.

Restricted to the Geraldton- Mullewa area, W.A. Grows in sand, sandy loam and gravel, in Mallee shrubland.

Sometimes difficult to distinguish from subsp. leptospermoides . Judging from herbarium specimens the young phyllodes may be green and if so, this would be an additional useful character to distinguish the subspecies.

Type of accepted name

Greenough R. crossing, near Mullewa, W.A., 2 July 1901, L.Diels 3294 ; lecto: PERTH (Fragment ex B), fide B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 2: 213 (1978).


Acacia psammophila E.Pritz., Bot. Jahrb. Syst . 35: 294 (1904). Type: as for accepted name.


B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 2: 210, fig. 4H–K (1978).

Representative collections

W.A.: Eradu, G.Phillips for A.M.Ashby 3852 (CANB, K, PERTH); Yuna, A.C.Burns 17 (PERTH).


Acacia leptospermoides subsp. obovata Maslin, Nuytsia 2: 212; 210, fig. 4A–G & 217, fig. 7 (1978)

Openly branched, spreading shrub 0.4–1.3 m high. Branchlets appressed-puberulous with hairs straight. Phyllodes obovate to widely obovate or orbicular, often minutely apiculate, horizontally flattened, 5–10 mm long, 4–7 mm wide, l:w = 1–2. Pods shallowly to moderately arcuate. Seeds indistinctly mottled.

Occurs along the North West Coastal Hwy between c. 70 km N and c. 10 km S of the Murchison R., with one collection from near Kalbarri, W.A. Grows in sand and sandy loam, in open heath and Mallee shrubland.

Sometimes difficult to distinguish from the typical subspecies.

Type of accepted name

14.5 km N of Murchison R., North West Coastal Hwy, W.A., 19 Sept. 1976; B.R.Maslin 4292 ; holo: PERTH; iso: CANB, K, NY.


B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 2: 210, fig. 4A–G (1978).

Representative collections

W.A.: 30 km SE of Kalbarri, D.R. & B.Bellairs 1625 (PERTH); 12 km N of Murchison R. on North West Coastal Hwy, M.E.Trudgen 1684 (AD, BRI, MEL, NSW, 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