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Acacia subulata, Awl-leaf Wattle 


We are always on the lookout for acacias that flower out of the usual spring season. These “out of season” wattles bring a touch of spring to the gardens at other times of the year.

Acacia subulata, the Awl-leaf Wattle, is one of the best of these “out of season” bloomers. The Awl-leaf Wattle is a New South Wales species and grows on the Tablelands and Western Slopes.

Acacia subulata grows into a three metre tall, erect shrub. We prune our specimens to keep them to a bushy height of about two metres. The phyllodes are narrow and about 10 centimetres long with a curved point. The foliage is light green in colour, which provides a contrast with other foliage in the garden. The yellow, globular flower heads are carried for most of the year. Flowering slackens off in spring when other wattles take up the bonanza of blooms. Linear pods follow the flowers are about 100 millimetres long (see thumbnail).

The type specimen of Acacia subulata, came from Malmaison, the garden of Napoleon and Josephine, near Paris. This wattle was described and illustrated in an early 1800’s book describing the rare plants growing at Malmaison. The original seed was probably collected by a French scientific expedition to Australia.

Acacia calamifolia, the Wallowa or Reed-leaf Wattle, is a similar species with a similar extended flowering period. The main difference between species is that Acacia subulata has phyllodes with straight points whilst A. calamifolia has phyllodes with a curved point.

These two colourful wattles could be alternated to create a long flowering hedge.

Propagate both species from seed. We have yet to try cuttings but they should be successful.

Warren and Gloria Sheather

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