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Acacia paradoxa

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Acacia paradoxa DC., Cat. Pl. Horti Monsp. 74 (Feb.–Mar. 1813)

Kangaroo Thorn , Hedge Wattle , Prickly Wattle, and more

Straggly to compact, intricate shrub or tree normally 2–4 m high; branches sometimes arching downwards. Branchlets ribbed, with variable indumentum, sometimes glabrous. Stipules spinose, spreading, 4–12 mm long. Phyllodes erect, oblique or dimidiate, lanceolate, sometimes narrowly oblong-elliptic, 8–20 mm long, normally 2–7 mm wide, acute or obtuse, sometimes rostellate, glabrous to sparsely hairy; midrib normally excentric; abaxial margin normally undulate. Inflorescences simple, normally 1 per axil; peduncles 5–15 mm long, normally glabrous; heads globular, to 12 mm diam. (fresh), densely 30–50-flowered, golden; bracteoles frequently acuminate. Flowers 5-merous; sepals united. Pods linear to narrowly oblong, to 6 cm long, 3–5 mm wide, thinly coriaceous, normally densely hairy. Seeds longitudinal, oblong, 3.5–5 mm long, shiny, dark brown, arillate.

Occurs in SE Australia from Eyre Penin., S.A., throughout most of Vic., eastern N.S.W. to Crows Nest- Cooyar area, Qld. Introduced in Tas. and probably also south-western W.A. Possibly native in A.C.T. Usually grows in woodland or open forest. Commonly planted or naturalised; proclaimed a noxious plant in parts of Vic.

Very polymorphic especially with respect to indumentum morphology and density, phyllode shape and degree of undulation and bracteole laminae shape. Perhaps infraspecific taxa should be recognised, but detailed morphological studies are required to elucidate the complex variation patterns.

Distinguished from A. congesta and A. idiomorpha by its innocuous phyllodes.

Putative hybrids are recorded between A. paradoxa and a number of other species, especially those belonging to the A. verniciflua complex. In Vic. it is thought to hybridise with A. ausfeldii , A. leprosa (Dandenong variant) and A. stricta and in S.A. with A. dodonaeifolia , A. gracilifolia, A. montana and A. triquetra . A.B.Court, in J.H.Willis, Handb. Pl. Victoria 216 (1973) and D.J.E.Whibley & D.E.Symon, Acacias S. Australia 2nd edn, 58 (1992) discuss a number of these hybrids. According to Court the hybrids combine the characters of their respective parents and possess setaceous stipules 3–5 mm long. In Vic. a putative natural hybrid occurs between A. verniciflua and A. paradoxa in the Mallandang Forest (e.g. O. & B.Thompson , MEL1528942). The following names based on plants cultivated in Europe probably represent hybrids involving A. paradoxa .

1. ? Acacia dodonaeifolia x paradoxa (Note: In WATTLE this hybrid is keyed and described separately, as A. dodonaeifolia x paradoxa ).

Acacia hybrida G.Lodd., Bot. Cab . 14: t. 1342 (1828), nom. inval. (plate not accompanied by analysis).

Acacia microcantha A.Dietr., Allg. Gartenzeitung 1: 83 (1833); Acacia hybrida G.Lodd. ex Benth., London J. Bot. 1: 328 (1842), nom. illeg. (superfluous); A. armata f. hybrida Siebert & Voss, Vilm. Blumengrtn. 3rd edn, 1: 227 (1896); A. armata f. microcantha (Dietr.) Siebert & Voss (as ‘micrantha’), Vilm. Blumeng2rtn . 3rd edn, 1: 227 (1896). Type: based on a cultivated plant; ?iso: HBG.

Acacia bartheriana hort. ex Jacques, Ann. Fl. Pomone 1837- 1838: 5 (1837). Type: cultivated plants in Fromont garden, England, and of numerous horticulturalists in Paris; n.v.

Acacia barteriana hort. ex Jacques, J. Soc. Imp. Centr. Hort . 9: 278 (1863). Type: cultivated plant in the Paris botanic garden, 1863; n.v. [? Orthographic variant of A. batheriana hort. ex Jacques]

Acacia armata var. linearifolia Ser., Fl. Jard . 3: 477 (1849). Type: cultivated at the botanic garden, Lyon, France; syns: LY (Botanic Garden collection)

2. ? Acacia paradoxa   x verniciflua

Acacia tristis Graham, Bot. Mag . 62: t. 3420 (1835); A. armata f. tristis (Graham) Siebert & Voss, Vilm . Blumengrtn. 3rd edn, 1: 227 (1896); A. armata var. bartheriana Hort. ex Chopinet, Ann. Inst. Natl. Rech. Agron. Ser B, Ann. Am=lior. Pl. 1 (4): 592 (1951). Type: cultivated in 1835 at the botanic garden, Edinburgh, from seed supplied by C.Fraser in 1828 from Australia; n.v.

G.Bentham, London J. Bot. 1: 329 (1842) suggested that A. tristis may be intermediate between A. armata [= A. paradoxa ] and A. verniciflua . The following specimen, presumably from the type plant, suggests that Bentham’s assertion is correct: Greenhouse, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, 5 Feb. 1838, R.Graham (E).

Type of accepted name

Cultivated in 1812 at Montpellier botanic garden, France; holo: G-DC.


Mimosa paradoxa (DC.) Poir., Encycl. Suppl. 5: 529 (1817), nom. illeg. (combination not actually made), non Dum.Cours. (1814); Phyllodoce undulata Willd. ex Link, Handbuch 2: 132 (1831), nom. illeg. (superfluous); Acacia armata var. angustifolia Benth., London J. Bot . 1: 328 (1842) and Linnaea 26: 605 (1855); A. armata var. paradoxa (DC.) Ser., Fl. Jard . 3: 477 (1849), nom. illeg. (superfluous); A. armata f. undulata Siebert & Voss, Vilm. Blumengrtn . 3rd edn, 1: 227 (1896); A. armata var. undulata Domin, Biblioth. Bot . 89: 252 (1926), nom. illeg. (superfluous). Type: as for accepted name.

Mimosa paradoxa Dum.Cours., Bot. Cult. 2nd edn, 7: 296 (1814). Type: not designated.

Acacia armata R.Br., in W.T.Aiton, Hortus Kew . 2nd edn, 5: 463 (Nov. 1813); Mimosa armata (R.Br.) Poir., Encycl . Suppl. 5: 530 (1817), nom. inval . (combination not actually made); Phyllodoce armata (R.Br.) Link, Handbuch 2: 133 (1831); Racosperma armata (R.Br.) Mart., Hort. Reg. Monac. (1835), nom. inval. ; A. armata var. plana Ser., Fl. Jard . 3: 476 (1849), nom. inval. (cf. I.C.B.N. Arts. 26 and 32). Type: Acacia armata , Kew, 1809 [William McNab]; neo: DBN (flowering specimen), fide B.R.Maslin & R.S.Cowan, Nuytsia 10: 112 (1995).

Acacia undulata Willd., Enum. Pl. Suppl. 68 (1814), nom. nud .

Acacia undulata Spin, Jard. St. Sebastien 1818: 27 (1818), nom. illeg. ( A. paradoxa DC. cited in synonymy). Type: ‘Habitat in Nova Hollandia’; n.v.

Acacia undulata Willd. ex H.L.Wendl., Comm. Acac. Aphyll . 3, 11, t. 3 (Jan. 1820), non Spin (1818); Racosperma undulata (Willd. ex H.L.Wendl.) Mart., Hort. Reg. Monac . (1835), nom. inval . Type: cultivated at Berlin botanic garden, Germany, C.F.Otto ; syn: GOET.

Acacia undulata Willd. ex Spreng., Neue Entd . 1: 293 (Jan.–May 1820), non Spin (1818). Type: ‘Hab. in Nova Hollandia [Australia]’; n.v.

Acacia ornithophora Sweet, Fl. Australas . t. 24 (1827); Acacia armata var. ornithophora (Sweet) Benth., London J. Bot. 1: 328 (1842); A. armata f. ornithophora (Sweet) Siebert & Voss, Vilm. Blumenghrtn. 3rd edn, 1: 227 (1896). Type: cultivated in the garden of Comtesse Vandes, Bayswater, England; n.v.

Acacia furcifera Lindl. in T.L.Mitchell, Three Exped. Australia 2: 265 (1838). Type: interior of New Holland [near Stavely, Vic.], 19 Sept. 1836, T.Mitchell ‘309’ ; holo: CGE; iso: K.

Acacia armata var. microphylla Benth., London J. Bot. 1: 328 (1842). Type: Mt William, The Grampians, Vic., 14–15 July 1836, T.Mitchell s.n. ; holo: K.

? Acacia undulata var. longispina hort. ex Vis., Orto Bot. Padova 131 (1842). Type: not designated; n.v.

? Acacia undulata elegans hort. ex Jacques, Ann. Fl. Pomone 1843-1844: 109 (Jan. 1844) and Hort. Universel 5: 290 (1844), an inoperative name. Type: cultivated in 1843 by M.Martine, Paris; n.v .

Acacia armata var. pendula Seem., Verh. K.K. Gartenbauges. Wien 1846: 14 (1846). Type: based on a cultivated plant; n.v .

? Acacia armata var. longipedunculata Regel, Index Sem. Hort. Petrop. 53 (1859), described as ‘A. armata R.Br. E longipedunculata’. Type: cultivated, seed from S.A. supplied by F.J.H. von Mueller; n.v .

Acacia armata var. typica Domin, Biblioth. Bot. 89: 252 (1926), nom. inval .

Doubtful names

Acacia armata var. undulata Riebe and Acacia falcifolia Hoffmanns.: see Doubtful Names.


L.F.Costermans, Native Trees & Shrubs SE Australia 309 (1981); G.M.Cunningham et al. , Pl. W New South Wales 369 (1981); B.A.Lebler, Wildfl. SE Queensland 2: 38 (1981); T.Tame, Acacias SE Australia 123, fig. 128, pl. 128 (1992); D.J.E.Whibley & D.E.Symon, Acacias S. Australia 2nd edn, 59 (1992).

Representative collections

W.A.: near the old Govt Railway Dam, Mount Barker, K.F.Kenneally 71/280A (PERTH). S.A.: 6.4 km E of Wanilla on North Shields Rd, M.D.Tindale 559 (PERTH). Qld: Amiens, Dec. 1964, G.Ward s.n. (NSW). N.S.W.: 18 km SW of Bigga on Reids Flat Rd, B.R.Maslin 5895 (NSW, PERTH). A.C.T.: Mt Pleasant, Duntroon, R.D.Hoogland 6290 (NSW). Vic.: Hall’s Gap, Grampian Mtns, J.E.Tilden 864 (K, MO). Tas.: Furneaux Group, Lady Barron, J.S.Whinray 1806 (CANB).


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