Plants of
South Australia
Acacia brachybotrya
Grey Wattle,
Grey Mulga-bush
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 15

Prior names

Acacia brachybotrya f. glabra

Acacia brachybotrya var. glaucophylla

Acacia brachybotrya f. glaucophylla

Acacia dictyocarpa

Common names

Grey Wattle

Grey Mulga-bush


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. Brachybotrya from the Greek 'brachys' meaning short and 'botrys' meaning a spike, referring to the flower on a short penduncle.

Distribution and status

Found across most of South Australia except the more arid part, in open-scrub mallee vegetation and open woodland on a variety of soils. Also found in New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Nullarbor, Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Compact, dense, rounded, spreading, grey-green shrubs to 3 m high and often the same or more across. Leaves obliquely oblanceolate to obovate to 3.5 cm long to 15 mm wide, flat, grey-green, glabrous or silky-hairy. Inflorescences axillary, solitary or mostly 2-5 globular, bright yellow flower-heads. Flowering from July to November. Fruits are long, dark brown, straight or slightly curved pod to 7 cm long and 6 mm wide, raised and sometimes warty. Seeds are dark brown to black, semi-flat, ovoid to 7 mm long and 4 mm wide. Seed embryo type is investing.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and January. 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).

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA1,400 (42.42 g)20+4-Jan-2012KHB653
South Eastern
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.
Germination table: