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Acacia sulcata

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Acacia sulcata R.Br., in W.T.Aiton, Hortus Kew . 2nd edn, 5: 460 (1813)

Spreading shrub 0.2–2 (- 3) m high. Branchlets sometimes pruinose apically, glabrous, appressed-puberulous or minutely pilose. Phyllodes straight to shallowly incurved, terete, laterally compressed or plano-convexly depressed, 5–25 mm long, 1–2 mm wide, obtuse to acute, sometimes subpungent or uncinate-mucronulate, glabrous, with 6 or 7 prominent nerves in all, 2-nerved per face when compressed, 3-nerved on lower surface when planoconvex; gland at or above junction of adaxial nerves or on undivided central nerve, occasionally absent. Inflorescences simple, 1 or 2 per axil; peduncles 4–15 mm long, glabrous, puberulous or appressed-puberulous; basal bract cucullate, rostriform; heads globular, 3–4 mm diam., 10–15-flowered, golden. Flowers 5-merous; sepals free. Pods linear, undulate, to 3.5 cm long, 2–4 mm wide, thin-coriaceous or chartaceous, sometimes pruinose, glabrous. Seeds longitudinal, widely elliptic to ovate, 1.5–3 mm long, subnitid, commonly mottled grey and black or brown; aril subterminal.

Occurs principally from Corrigin S to Albany and in coastal or near-coastal areas E to Israelite Bay, southern W.A. Occurs on hills and mountains in soils over or derived from granite.

Acacia sulcata together with A. brachyphylla , A. dura , A. nitidula , A. octonervia and A. tetanophylla constitute the ‘A. sulcata group’; A. declinata and A. prismifolia are closely related to the group. Separation of A. sulcata from A. nitidula is arbitrary and is based on the longer, much wider, flat phyllodes of the latter.

A highly variable species which is broadly circumscribed here with three varieties being recognised; future studies may demonstrate the need for further revision; see R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 9: 69–78 (1993), for further discussion.


1 Phyllodes mostly 18–25 mm long; peduncles 8–15 mm long

var. sulcata

1: Phyllodes commonly 5–16 mm long; peduncles 4–8 mm long

2 Phyllodes green, terete to laterally compressed; upper surface or margin with 2 obvious nerves converging near gland

var. platyphylla

2: Phyllodes commonly pruinose, planoconvex with adaxial surface flat and weakly 1-nerved or nerveless, abaxial surface prominently 3-nerved; upper surface with gland near middle of phyllode or absent

var. planoconvexa


Acacia sulcata R.Br., in W.T.Aiton loc.cit. var. sulcata

Branchlets glabrous. Phyllodes linear, incurved, terete, (15- ) 18–25 mm long, sometimes subpungent, strongly sulcate, glabrous, 6-nerved; gland about 1/3 or more from phyllode-base mostly on adaxial central nerve. Peduncles 8–15 mm long, glabrous. Pods to 3.5 cm long, 2–4 mm wide, thinly coriaceous. Seeds 1.5–2 mm long.

Coastal and near-coastal areas (inland to near Jerramungup) from Albany (Mts Adelaide and Clarence) and Willyung Hill E to the Pallinup R., c. 100 km E of Albany, south-western W.A. Grows in loam or sand on or near granite hills and mountains, in shrubland and low mallee heath.

Type of accepted name

Princess Royal Harbour, King George Sound, Albany, W.A., Dec. 1801, R.Brown , [Britten no.] 4302 ; lecto (flowering specimen): BM, fide B.R.Maslin & R.S.Cowan, Nuytsia 9: 74 (1993), superfluous re-lectotypification in R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 10: 117 (1995); isolecto: K; paralecto (fruiting specimens): BM; ?paralecto (fruiting specimens): E, K.


Mimosa sulcata (R.Br.) Poir., Encycl . Suppl. 5: 530 (1817), nom. inval . (combination not actually made); Zigmaloba sulcata (R.Br., in W.T.Aiton, loc. cit .) Raf., Sylva Tellur . 120 (1838). Type: as for accepted name.

Representative collections

W.A.: Mt Adelaide, Albany, A.M.Ashby (E, NY, PERTH); Pallinup R. near the Albany- Jerramungup road, A.R.Fairall 2265 (PERTH); Willyung Hill, A.S.George 9488 (PERTH, TLF); Mt Manypeaks area, S.P.Pfeiffer 24 (PERTH); Mt Clarence, Albany, L.Preiss 978 (C, FI, G, GOET, HBG, LUND, M, MO, NAP, NY, P, RO, STR, W).


Acacia sulcata var. platyphylla Maiden & Blakely, J. & Proc. Roy. Soc. W. Australia 13: 3 (1928)

Branchlets glabrous or occasionally puberulous or appressed-puberulous. Phyllodes terete to laterally compressed and narrowly oblanceolate, commonly 8–16 mm long, commonly obtuse, sometimes mucronulate, fleshy, nitid, green; gland on central nerve or at junction of 2 adaxial nerves. Peduncles 4–10 mm long, glabrous, appressed-puberulous or rarely minutely pilose. Pods to 3 cm long, 2.5–3.5 mm wide, chartaceous, not pruinose. Seeds 2.5–3 mm long.

Widespread from Corrigin S to near Mount Barker and E to Israelite Bay with outliers in the Wongan Hills (N of Corrigin), Point Culver and Cocklebiddy (both E of Israelite Bay) in southern W.A. Grows in sand, sandy or rocky loam, loam, clay and sandy clay, in tall mallee scrub with eucalypts and Casuarina often, on rocky hills and on granite outcrops.

The type of A. sulcata var. hirsuta is so depauperate and fragmentary that its status as a synonym of this variety is provisional; it appears to be no more than a variant in the rather variable var. platyphylla . The type of variety platyphylla represents the compressed phyllode form of the variety. See R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 9: 76–77 (1993), for discussion.

Type of accepted name

Israelite Bay, W.A., 1893, Miss [S.T.] Brooks ; lecto: NSW216916, upper left-hand flowering branchlet, fide R.S.Cowan & B.R.Maslin, Nuytsia 9 : 75 (1993); isolecto: M, PERTH (Fragment ex NSW); paralecto: NSW (five other branchlets on lectotype sheet).


? Acacia sulcata var. hirsuta Maiden & Blakely, J. & Proc. Roy. Soc. W. Australia 13: 3; pl. 1, figs 8–12 (1928). Type: Israelite Bay, W.A., Sept. 1915, J.P.Brooks ; holo: NSW216926.

Representative collections

W.A.: 8 km NW of Pt Culver, M.G.Brooker 3685 (PERTH); 21 km S of Cocklebiddy, A.S.George 11858 (CANB, PERTH); c. 10 km NE of Mt Barker, P.Luscombe 169 (PERTH); 4.5 km NW of Wongan Hills township on road to Piawaning, B.R.Maslin 5365 (PERTH); 20 km NE of Jerramungup, K.Newbey 4390 (CANB, K, MEL, MO, NSW, NY, PERTH); 12.8 km SW of Mt Ragged, P.G.Wilson 10069 (K, PERTH).


Acacia sulcata var. planoconvexa R.S.Cowan & Maslin, Nuytsia 9: 77 (1993)

Branchlets often pruinose apically, glabrous, infrequently minutely pilose. Phyllodes linear, planoconvex, 5–12 mm long, commonly pruinose to subpruinose, 6-nerved in all, with adaxial nerve indistinct or not apparent, 3 abaxial nerves prominent; upper surface with gland near middle of phyllode, often absent or obscure. Peduncles 5–8 mm long, glabrous. Pods to 3 cm long, 3–4 mm wide, pruinose. Seeds ovate, 2 mm long.

Occurs from near Brookton S to near Albany and E to near Ravensthorpe with one outlier near Esperance, c. 150 km E of Ravensthorpe, south-western W.A. Grows in sand, sandy gravel, sandy loam and rocky loam, in dense scrub, mallee heath and mallee shrubland, frequently on hills and mountains in association with granite.

Glaucous or pruinose specimens are similar superficially to the narrow phyllode form of A. leptospermoides subsp. leptospermoides , a diaphyllodinous species (for definition and references concerning diaphyllodes, see discussion under A. diaphyllodinea ) which has obscurely nerved phyllodes, larger heads with twice as many flowers and curved to coiled pods.

Type of accepted name

17.6 km SE of Ongerup, W.A., 17 May 1964, K.Newbey 1268 ; holo: PERTH.

Representative collections

W.A.: 30.5 km E of Brookton towards Corrigin, R.J.Cumming 1037 (PERTH); 30.5 km N of Esperance, H.Demarz 3635 (PERTH); 16 km S of Jerramungup towards Albany, B.R.Maslin 2590 (CANB, PERTH); c. 32 km E of Albany towards Jerramungup, S.Paust 485 (PERTH); Kojonup, 15 Aug. 1969, M.Wittwer s.n. (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