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Acacia microbotrya

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Acacia microbotrya Benth., London J. Bot. 1: 353 (1842)

Bushy shrub or tree 2–7 m high. Branchlets glabrous. Phyllodes patent to pendulous, narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, normally falcately recurved, 5–14 cm long, 5–20 mm wide, narrowed at base, usually acute to acuminate, thin, glaucous to subglaucous or grey-green, glabrous, 1-nerved per face, obscurely penninerved; gland not prominent, 5–30 mm above pulvinus. Inflorescences racemose; raceme axes usually 1.5–4 cm long, appressed-puberulous with yellow or white hairs; peduncles mostly 3–5 mm long, slender, with indumentum as on raceme axes; heads showy, globular, 4–6 mm diam. at anthesis, 20–30-flowered, cream to pale yellow; bracteole laminae golden-fimbriolate. Flowers 5-merous; sepals united. Pods moniliform to submoniliform, to c. 15 cm long, occasionally 20 cm, 6–8 mm wide, thinly coriaceous, dark brown to blackish, glabrous. Seeds longitudinal, oblong to elliptic, 5.5–8 mm long, 4–5 mm wide, subshiny, black, minutely pitted, encircled by red-brown, once-folded funicle; aril clavate.

Extending from the Murchison R. S to near Katanning, with scattered occurrences at Ongerup and Lake King, W.A.

A widespread, variable species which, together with more than 40 relatives Australia-wide, constitutes the informal ‘Acacia microbotrya group’, fide B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 10: 186 (1995), for discussion. The species provisionally referred to this group include the following: A. aestivalis (W.A.), A. alcockii (S.A .), A. amblyophylla (W.A.), A. amoena (N.S.W.), A. anceps (W.A., S.A.), A. angusta (Qld), A. araneosa (S.A.), A. attenuata (Qld), A. bancroftiorum (Qld), A. brumalis (W.A .), A. calamifolia (S.A., N.S.W.), A. chamaeleon (W.A.), A. chalkeri (N.S.W.), A. chrysella (W.A.), A. confluens (S.A.), A. cretacea (S.A .), A. deuteroneura (Qld), A. difformis (N.S.W., Vic.), A. euthycarpa (S.A., Vic.), A. falcata (Qld, N.S.W.), A. flocktoniae (N.S.W.), A. forsythii (N.S.W.), A. gillii (S.A.), A. gladiiformis (N.S.W.), A. x grayana (S.A., Vic.), A. harveyi (W.A.), A. jennerae (W.A., S.A., N.T., N.S.W.), A. kydrensis (N.S.W.), A. leichhardtii (Qld, precise affinities unknown but the funicle encircling the seeds suggests inclusion in the group), A. leiophylla (S.A.), A. leptopetala (W.A.), A. mabellae (N.S.W.), A. meisneri (W.A.), A. merrickiae (W.A.), A. microbotrya (W.A.), A. affin. microbotrya (W.A.), A. nana (N.S.W.), A. nematophylla (S.A.), A. notabilis (S.A., N.S.W., Vic.), A. quornensis (S.A.), A. retinodes (S.A., Vic.), A. rivalis (S.A., ?N.S.W.), A. rubida (Qld, N.S.W., Vic.), A. steedmanii (W.A.), A. subulata (N.S.W.), A. validinervia (W.A., N.T., S.A.) and A. wattsiana (S.A .). Acacia binervata (N.S.W., Qld) and A. wardellii (Qld) appear to be closely related to certain members of this group (e.g. A. bancroftiorum ) on account of their seeds having encircling funicles, however, they are readily distinguished by their 2–3-nerved phyllodes.

Among other characters, the members of the ‘Acacia microbotrya group’ are normally recognised by their filiform funicle which is usually red or red-brown and which partially or completely encircles the seed in a single or double fold. Acacia latisepala , which is normally referred to sect. Botrycephalae , has the same sort of funicle. Some members of the group, particularly A. chrysella , A. brumalis , A. chamaeleon and A. microbotrya from W.A., are extremely variable and further studies are needed to elucidate their complex variation patterns clarify their relationships. It is likely that future work will result in the recognition of additional species within this species-complex.

Acacia microbotrya is especially closely related to A. amblyophylla and A. jennerae and is superficially similar to A. galeata and A. saligna .

Plants from north of about the latitude of Moora generally have golden heads and are regarded here as var. borealis , while plants from south of Moora have cream to pale yellow heads are treated as var. microbotrya . There may also be (? overlapping) differences in growth form and phyllode dimension between these varieties, however, further study is needed to elucidate the complex patterns of variation. The placement A. daphnifolia and A. subfalcata as synonyms of var. borealis and var. microbotrya respectively will need to be confirmed in the light of any such study. Not all material which is seemingly referable to A. microbotrya can be confidently ascribed to one variety or the other; plants from the Moora region are especially troublesome. In Fl. Australia var. borealis was not formally recognized.

Heads cream to pale yellow; S of Moora

var. microbotrya

Heads bright golden; N of Moora

var. borealis


Acacia microbotrya Benth. var. microbotrya

Manna Wattle

Trees 3–7 m tall. Phyllodes 7–14 cm long, 5–20 mm wide, acute to acuminate, shallowly to obviously falcate. Heads cream to pale yellow.

Moora S to near Katanning, with scattered occurrences at Ongerup and Lake King, W.A.. Grows in a variety of habitats but often on clay loam or sandy loam flats, often near watercourses. Often common where it occurs.

Type of accepted name

Swan R., W.A., 1839, J.Drummond s.n. ; holo: K.


Acacia myriobotrya Meisn., in J.G.C.Lehmann, Pl. Preiss . 1: 15 (1844). Type: Swan R., W.A., J.Drummond 286 ; syn: A, BM, E, G, K, NY, OXF, P, W, see B.R.Maslin & R.S.Cowan, Nuytsia 9: 409 (1994) for discussion.

Fusanus diversifolius Miq., in J.G.C.Lehmann, Pl. Preiss. 1: 617 (1845). Type: Avon R., York district, W.A., herb. Preiss. no. 2111 ; n.v.

?Acacia subfalcata Meisn., in J.G.C.Lehmann, Pl. Preiss . 1: 15 (1844) . Type: between Moore and Murchison rivers W.A., J.Drummond 6: 1 ; syn: BM, CGE, K, LD (sphalm. ‘coll. 3’), MEL, NSW, OXF, P, PERTH, W; see B.R.Maslin & R.S.Cowan, Nuytsia 9: 412 (1994), for note on types.

[? Acacia rostellifera auct. non Benth.: B.C.Seemann, Eur. Acacias 33, fig. 2 (1852), synonymy cited by G.Bentham, Fl. Austral. 2: 364 (1864)]


M.Simmons, Acacias Australia 169 (1981).

Representative collections

W.A.: Fitzgerald R., c. 112.7 km ESE of Ongerup, R.Coveny 3260 et al. (PERTH); 34.5 km NW of Midlands Hwy at Moora towards Badgingarra, R.Cumming 3564 (MEL, PERTH); 11 km E of Dale R. on Brookton Hwy, B.R.Maslin 4083 (PERTH); Toodyay, B.R. Maslin 4115 (PERTH); c. 8 km due NNW of Muntadgin, B.R.Maslin 7957 (PERTH).


Acacia microbotrya var. borealis E. Pritzel, Bot. Jahrb. Syst . 35: 300 (1904)

Northern Manna Wattle

Bushy, +/- rounded shrubs or +/- obconic small trees mostly 2–4 m tall. Phyllodes normally oblanceolate, obtuse to acute, rarely acuminate, mostly 5–9 cm long and 5–10 mm wide, straight to falcate. Heads bright golden.

As currently understood var. borealis occurs in the northern wheatbelt from about Moora N to the Murchison R., however, further studies are required to more precisely define the extent of its geographic range. Grows in a variety of habitats but often on clay loam or sandy loam flats, often near watercourses. Often common where it occurs.

Acacia brumalis (light land variant) is possibly a hybrid between A. microbotrya var. borealis and A. affin. jennerae .

Type or accepted name

Near Watheroo and to the Irwin R. N of Mingenew, W.A., L.Diels & E.Pritzel ; n.v.


?Acacia daphnifolia Meisn., Bot. Zeitung (Berlin) 13: 11 (1855). Type: between Moore and Murchison rivers, W.A., J.Drummond 6: 2 ; syn: BM, K, LD (sphalm. ‘coll.3’), MEL, OXF, P, PERTH, TDC, W; fide B.R.Maslin & R.S.Cowan, Nuytsia 9: 404 (1994), for discussion of types.

Representative collections

Ajana, D.Bellairs 1621 (PERTH); 10.7 km NE of Three Springs on road to Morawa, B.R.Maslin 5310 (PERTH); Cataby Brook, Brand Hwy, B.R.Maslin 6033 (PERTH); 24 km E of Wubin, on Wubin East Rd 0.7 km W of Rabbit Proof Fence Rd, B.R.Maslin 7597 (PERTH); 8 km E of Lynton Stn on Northampton to Port Gregory road, R.A.Saffrey 1522 (CANB, K, MEL, PERTH).

The Fl. Australia account of A. microbotrya has been modified here in WATTLE in that var. borealis is formally treated as a distinct taxon.

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