The surprise of the wattle

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Flowering wattles, Flinders Ranges, Australia, October 2018

In October, it seemed that wherever we went, there was yet another flowering wattle in action.  The genus Acacia is a wide church really.  Here in South West France, the ordinary thorny Acacia is considered a pest, not what you want in your garden, rampant, painful to deal with, and invasive.  But, in the dry conditions of Australia, the wattle is not only the national emblem but even has its own celebration day, Wattle Day on 1st September.  The Aboriginal people use wattle bark extracts as medicine and carve the hard wood.

This Dagger Wattle, Acacia siculiformis, with dramatic, slim, pointed phyllodes, not in fact leaves but flattened stems, matches the danger of the points with delicate, small, pale coloured pompoms of a creamy yellow.  I was lucky to see one, it is not very common and is endangered in Tasmania.

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The Dagger Wattle, Acacia siculiformis, Jindabyne, NSW, Australia, October 2018

In complete contrast, Acacia havilandiorum, found in the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, just dripped softly with flowing bobbles of yellow- almost like lampshade trimming.  Commonly called the Needle Wattle, but no sharp dangers here.

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Acacia havilandiorum, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra, October 2018

In the bush near Jindabyne, in the Snowy Mountains, perhaps the cooler conditions favoured small, or even tiny flowers.  These flowers below were so small that from a distance, I thought that they were berries.

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Unknown wattle with tiny flowers, Jindabyne, NSW, Australia, October 2018

Wattles are sometimes cream-coloured, but I only saw one.  Flowering heavily, with the additional yellow bobbled buds, it was a magnificent bush or small tree .  Difficult to be sure from just one photograph, but I think it is most likely to be the Bramble Wattle, Acacia victoriae.

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Cream flowered wattle, I think it is Acacia victoriae, somewhere in Australia, October 2018

This small, spreading bush wattle, had fabulous almost triangular paired leaves, and really tiny flowers, only in bud when I saw it.  Another Snowy Mountain find, near Jindabyne, I think it is Acacia pravissima.  If the photos on the link are true, the flowers would have become an explosive yellow- rather smart with the angular, emerald green foliage.

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Acacia pravissima, Jindabyne, NSW, Australia, October 2018

You can see how obsessive the slight changes in form, leaf and flower can be!  But it’s a bit of a needle in a haystack job to identify one from the other.

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Possibly the Box-leaf Wattle, Acacia buxifolia, somewhere in Australia, October 2018
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Wattles en masse, Flinders Ranges, Australia, October 2018

But just one tree can illuminate a landscape. Magnificent.

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The brilliance of one Wattle, Flinders Ranges, Australia, October 2018

One thought on “The surprise of the wattle

  1. Acacia dealbata is one of the most invasive naturalized exotic specie here, even worse than the blue gum. Not only does it grow wild, but it is very combustible. Yet, it is hard to not appreciate the bright yellow bloom.


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