Plants of
South Australia
Acacia baileyana (∗)
Cootamundra Wattle
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Distribution by Herbarium region
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier

Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 4

Prior names

Racosperma baileyanum


Acacia from the Greek 'akakia' and derived from 'ake' or 'akis' meaning a sharp point or thorn and 'akazo' meaning to sharpen. Dioscorides, the Greek physician and botanist used the word in the 1st century AD for the Egyptian thorn tree, Acacia arabica. Baileyana named after Frederick Manson Bailey (1827-1915), a British-born Australian botanist who collected the type specimen from Bowen Park, Brisbane in 1876.

Distribution and status

An introduced species from garden escape in South Australia and found mainly in the Mount Lofty Ranges and the lower South-east with isolated records on Kangaroo Island. The species natural distribution is in the Cootamundra and Wagga districts of New South Wales but is now naturalised in Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New Zealand. Introduced in South Australia. Uncommon in South Australia.
Herbarium regions: Northern Lofty, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

A shrub or small tree to 6 m high with a silvery-blue foliage with a rounded canopy. Branchlets with ridge and somewhat furrowed often with short spreading hairs. Leaves bipinnate to 3 cm long with 12-20 pairs, linear-oblong. Inflorescences in axillary spike longer than leaves with globular, bright yellow flowers. Flowering between July and September. Fruits are broad, straight or slightly curved, brown pod to 10 cm long and 12 mm. Seed embryo type is investing.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and November. Collect mature pods that are turning brown with hard, dark seeds inside. Place the pods in a tray and leave to dry for 1-2 weeks or until the pods begin to split. Then rub the dried pods to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. Seed viability is usually high. This species has physical dormancy that needs to be overcome for the seed to germinate (e.g. nicking or softening the seed coat).