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Acacia ligulata

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Acacia ligulata A.Cunn. ex Benth., London J. Bot . 1: 362 (1842)

Dune Wattle , Sandhill Wattle , Small Cooba , Umbrella Bush, Wirra, and more

Normally glabrous, dense shrub or tree 2–3 m high. Branchlets light brown, sometimes slightly scurfy and distinctly yellow-ribbed. Phyllodes commonly patent, usually linear to narrowly elliptic, usually 3–7.5 cm long and 4–14 mm wide with l:w = 5–19, often uncinate, with recurved to straight mucro, usually thick therefore coarsely wrinkled when dry, green, infrequently glaucous, 1-nerved; glands commonly 3, lowermost 2–20 mm above pulvinus, distal glands smaller with one at base of mucro. Inflorescences 2–4 (6)-headed racemes; raceme axes normally 3–20 mm long; peduncles 2–10 (–15) mm long; heads globular, subdense, 19–24-flowered, deep golden. Flowers 5-merous; sepals united into a truncate calyx. Pods patent-erect, commonly straight-sided or slightly constricted between seeds, to 9 cm long, 5–9 mm wide, thick, woody, yellow or light brown with often a paler median stripe. Seeds longitudinal, oblong-elliptic, normally 4–6 mm long, shiny, brown; aril yellow-orange or red.

Widespread in central and southern arid Australia, occurring in all mainland states. Usually grows in sand, often in Mulga and mallee communities.

A variable member of the ‘ A. bivenosa group’ which has historically been confused with A. salicina , fide A.R.Chapman & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 8: 266 (1992). It is closely related to A. bivenosa and in places the two seem to hybridise. Acacia bivenosa is commonly distinguished by its 2-nerved phyllodes and normally indeterminate racemes, usually growing out. However, A. bivenosa sometimes has 1-nerved phyllodes and A. ligulata is usually distinguished from these plants by its thicker phyllodes with l:w more than 5 and mucro recurved to straight, peduncles normally less than 10 mm long and woody pods. Some S.A. specimens have atypically narrow phyllodes (2–3 mm wide) which resemble those of A. cupularis . Plants from the type locality at Shark Bay, W.A., resemble the closely related A. rostellifera . They are characterised by short (2.5–3.5 cm), narrowly elliptic-oblanceolate, thin, puncticulate phyllodes, small inflorescence and seeds, and aril which partially sheaths the end of the seed. In W.A. A. ligulata forms putative hybrids with A. sclerosperma subsp. sclerosperma and A. tysonii . The species is also related to A. ampliceps .

Leaves and branches used traditionally by N.T. aborigines as a diaphoretic for several complaints, including certain disturbances of the nervous system, fide , Aboriginal Communities of the Northern Territory, Traditional Aboriginal Medicines in the N. Terr. of Australi a 16- 19 (1993) (Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory of Australia, Darwin).

Type of accepted name

Dirk Hartog Is., W.A., 21 Jan. 1822, A.Cunningham 326 ; lecto: K, fide A.R.Chapman & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 8: 266 (1992); South Coast, C.Fraser ; paralecto: n.v.


Racosperma ligulatum (A.Cunn. ex Benth.) Pedley, Austrobaileya 2: 351 (1987). Type: as for accepted name.

Acacia pallidiramosa Maiden & Blakely, J. Roy. Soc. W. Australia 13: 12, pl. 8, figs 20–22 (1928). Type: without locality, date or collector indicated, sheet annotated ‘Acacia cf. meissneri , "Mohrunga" "Cannsigon", vide 15 bottle’; holo: NSW 119772; iso: K, PERTH (Fragment ex NSW).

[ Acacia salicina auct. non Lindl.: G. Bentham, Fl. Austral. 2: 367 (1864) p.p. ; J.H.Maiden, Forest Fl. New South Wales 4(39): 146, pl. 149F–O (1910)]

[ Acacia bivenosa subsp. wayi auct. non (Maiden) Pedley: L.Pedley, Austrobaileya 1: 272 (1980) p.p. , as to ‘southern variant’]


G.M.Cunningham et al ., Pl. W. New South Wales 365 (1981); B.R.Maslin, in J.P.Jessop (ed.), Fl. Central Australia 120, fig. 159J (1981); T.Tame, Acacias SE Australia 137, fig. 145, pl. 145 (1992); M.Simmons, Acacias Australia 2: 167 (1988); D.J.E.Whibley & D.E.Symon, Acacias. S. Australia 2nd edn, 137 (1992); A.R.Chapman & B.R.Maslin, op. cit . 250, fig. 1(b), 258, fig. 3 & 261, fig. 4F.

Representative collections

W.A.: 4 km S of Menzies towards Kalgoorlie, B.R.Maslin 1931 (AD, DNA, K, MEL, NSW, PERTH). N.T.: 57.9 km SW of Amaroo HS, G.Chippendale 1410 (BRI, DNA, PERTH). S.A.: 16 km NW of Ceduna, N.Hall H80/65 (BRI, PERTH). Qld: 11.3 km W of Dynevor Downs, L.Pedley 2466 (PERTH). N.S.W.: Menindee aerodrome, 16 June 1955, E.F.Constable s.n. (DNA, NSW). Vic.: 22.3 km N of Speed on the Sunraysia Hwy, N.Hall H80/39 (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