Plants of
South Australia
Acacia continua
Thorn Wattle
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.


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. Continua from the Latin 'continua' meaning uninterrupted, referring to the phyllodes being continuous with the stem.

Distribution and status

Found on Eyre Peninsula and across the Flinders and Mt Lofty Ranges, growing on hard alkaline, calcareous and sandy alkaline soils, in woodland, open scrub and Triodia grassland. Also found in New South Wales. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in New South Wales.
Herbarium regions: Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Small, erect or spreading, rigid shrub to 2 m high. Branches rigid, grey-green but becoming brownish on older stems. Leaves continuous with the stem, rigid, terete to 3.5 cm long to 2 mm wide, with 4–8 raised longitudinal veins and tapering to a pungent point. Small gland on margin and often at incurved bend in leaves. Inflorescences simple, 1 or 2 in axil with globular, golden-yellow flower-heads. Flowering between July and Octover. Fruits are brown, brittle to leathery, slightly wrinkled pods to 8 cm long and 5 mm wide, usually curved to once-coiled, constricted between and raised on alternate sides over seeds. Seeds are hard, dark brown ovoid to globular seeds to 4 mm long and 3 mm wide. Seed embryo type is investing.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November 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. From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 75%. 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
3,870 (36 g)
3,600 (33.14 g)
Eyre Peninsula
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.