Plant of the month is Acacia disparrima (Hickory wattle), a tree to 15 metres growing in wet or dry eucalypt forest and flowering summer to autumn. The flowers are yellow spikes, phyllodes are grey/green and the seed pods are broad, woody, flat and often twisted. (Photograph: noosanativeplants.com.au)
Wattles (Genus Acacia) are a common feature of the Australian bush. The golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha) is our floral emblem and the green and gold of wattle leaves and flowers is reflected in our official colours.
Acacias grow all over Australia, though occur more often in arid, semi-arid and dry subtropical regions.
The appearance of wattle blossom has been seen to herald spring’s arrival, as many flower in late winter, however, species flower throughout the year.
Acacias are generally small-to-large shrubs, but a few are large trees. After bushfires, they are often pioneer plants as they germinate quickly and repopulate the area, thus providing protection for other plants which are slower to germinate.
An interesting aspect of acacias is their foliage. The majority have phyllodes, rather than leaves. Phyllodes are flattened stalks that have adapted to look and act like leaves. The foliage varies greatly in size and shape, and colours range from dark/light green to blue/grey/silver.
Flowers appear in balls or cylindrical spikes and vary from cream to bright yellow. Many have a delicate perfume.