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Acacia prainii

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Acacia prainii Maiden, J. & Proc. Roy. Soc. New South Wales 51: 238 (1917)

Prain’s Wattle

Bushy, glabrous shrub or tree 1.5–3 m high, sometimes 5 m. Branchlets angled at extremities, sometimes viscid especially on the fine yellow ribs. Phyllodes ascending to erect, usually linear, occasionally filiform, flat to quadrangular, 2–11 cm long, usually 0.5–3 mm wide, commonly pungent, smooth, normally subglaucous to glaucous; midrib and marginal nerves prominent, yellowish and sometimes viscid; lateral nerves absent; gland 2–20 mm above pulvinus, sometimes also 3–20 mm below apex. Inflorescences 3–7-headed racemes; raceme axes 3- 15 mm long, enclosed when young by imbricate brown bracts; peduncles 4–11 mm long, slender; heads showy, globular, 10–24-flowered, light golden; bracteoles absent. Flowers 5-merous; sepals free. Pods rounded over seeds, often curved, to 8.5 cm long, 5–7 mm wide, firmly chartaceous. Seeds longitudinal, oblong-elliptic to ovate, 3.5–6 mm long, slightly shiny, black, exarillate.

Scattered in arid and semi-arid areas from Morawa and Holt Rock, W.A., E to L. Amadeus, N.T., and L. Everard, S.A. Grows in sand or sandy clay in open scrub, Mallee communities, Eucalyptus woodland or spinifex country.

Phyllodes are variable in shape and size and future studies may show that infraspecific taxa should be recognised to accommodate this variation. In south-western W.A. the phyllodes are frequently 2–5 cm long (includes the type of A. prainii ) but further E in the arid zone they may reach 11 cm (includes the type of A. prolifera ). Some specimens from the Coolgardie- Widgiemooltha area, W.A., have filiform, quadrangular phyllodes less than 1 mm wide, these were described as A. prainii var. linearis . A few specimens have narrowly oblong, atypically broad phyllodes, to 5 mm wide and as such approach those of A. hemiteles (e.g. 4.1 km N of Holt Rock, B.R.Maslin 3937 , K, PERTH). These two species possibly hybridise near Burracoppin.

Acacia prainii together with A. anthochaera , A. camptoclada , A. dorsenna and A. hemiteles comprise the informal ‘A. prainii group’, fide B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 10: 193 (1995). These are all glabrous plants with short racemes that are enclosed, when young, by scarious brown bracts, free sepals, no bracteoles, generally chartaceous pods and exarillate funicles. Members of this group are most readily distinguished by their phyllode shape and size. Acacia prainii is sometimes sympatric with A. anthochaera .

Type of accepted name

Southern Cross, W.A., Oct. 1909, J.H.Maiden s.n .; lecto: NSW, fide B.R.Maslin, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 2: 316 (1980); isolecto: K, NSW.


Acacia prainii var. linearis Maiden, J. & Proc. Roy. Soc. New South Wales 51: 239 (1917). Type: Coolgardie, W.A., Oct. 1899, H.Nathan ; syn: PERTH; Coolgardie, W.A., 1900, L.C.Webster ; syn: n.v .

Acacia prolifera J.M.Black, Trans. & Proc. Roy. Soc. S. Australia 44: 375, t. 22 (1920). Type: Barton or Wynbring, S.A., 22 Sept. 1920, J.M.Black s.n .; holo: AD; iso: AD, K, NSW.

Acacia dentifera var. parvifolia S.Moore, J. Linn. Soc., Bot . 45: 174 (1920). Type: Bruce Rock, W.A., F.Stoward 333 ; lecto: BM, fide B.R.Maslin, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard . 2: 317 (1980); isolecto: PERTH; Mt Marshall, W.A., F.Stoward 451 ; paralecto: BM.


B.R.Maslin, in J.P.Jessop (ed.) Fl. Central Australia 119, fig. 158M (1981); D.J.E.Whibley & D.E.Symon, Acacias S. Australia 2nd edn, 125 (1992).

Representative collections

W.A.: Warrachuppin Rock, E of Bencubbin, C.A.Gardner 2774 (K, PERTH); 14 km N of Docker R. turnoff from Giles- Mulga Park Rd, A.S.George 12050 (PERTH, TLF); 12 km E of Coolgardie on Great Eastern Hwy, B.R.Maslin 1885 (MEL, NSW, PERTH). N.T.: L. Neale and L. Amadeus area, J.R.Maconochie 1899 (K, PERTH). S.A.: 5 km NE of Maralinga village, L.D.Williams 9423B (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