Plants of
South Australia
Acacia rivalis
Creek 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: 2.


Acacia rom the Greek 'akakia' and derived rom '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 or Egyptian thorn tree, Acacia arabica. Rivalis rom the Latin 'rivalis' meaning growing by streams.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and is confined to northern Flinders Ranges, growing in tall shrubland on ridges and rocky shaly hillsides or along watercourses. Native. Common in South Australia.
Herbarium regions: Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern
NRM region: South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Small, parachute-shaped trees or shrubs to 4 m high with a dense domed canopy, branching near the ground, or with a single trunk for more or less 1 m before dividing into a number branches. Branchlets reddish and slightly angular. Leaves linear lanceolate to 14 cm long and 5 mm wide; falcate, narrowed towards the base, glabrous and shiny when fresh, with prominent central vein to a short curved apex. Small glands on upper margin at least 15mm above the base. Inflorescences axillary racemes, solitary with small, globular yellow lower-heads. Flowering between May and November. Fruits are smooth, brown, linear pod to 12 cm long and 5 mm wide, straight or curved. Seeds are hard, black, semi-flat, ellipsoid seed to 7 mm long and 4 mm wide. Seed embryo type is investing.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and December. Collect mature pods that are turning brown, with hard, dark seeds inside. Place the pods in a tray and leave to dry or 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 85%. This species has physical dormancy that needs to be overcome or the seed to germinate (e.g. nicking or softening the seed oat).

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA860 (24.96 g)20023-Nov-2009KHB318
Flinders Ranges
BGA2,750 (49.4 g)50+7-Dec-2011KHB628
Flinders Ranges
9,500 (281.12 g)
9,500 (281.12 g)
Flinders Ranges
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: