Plants of
South Australia
Acacia cambagei
Stinking Wattle
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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: 7.


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. Cambagei named in honour of Richard Hind Cambage (1859-1928), Chief Mining Surveyor and a botanist in New South Wales.

Distribution and status

Found in low open woodland in the Lake Eyre region as scattered trees, or in small dense stands along the edges of watercourses, drainage channels and along the edges of open rocky plains. Also found in Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium region: Lake Eyre
NRM region: South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Small or medium sized, spreading trees to 8 m high, often with a few main stems at ground level, or with a single trunk and a bushy canopy. Bark is pale grey to dark grey, rough, flaky and fissured. Leaves linear-lanceolate to 14 cm long and 15 mm wide, straight or falcate with a small curved tip. Dull green to pale grey and often scurfy, flaking off with age. Inflorescences axillary racemes, much shorter than leaves, have globular pale yellow flower-heads. Flowering between May and september. Fruits are flat, narrowly oblong, straight or curved pod to 12 cm long and 12 mm wide with transverse veins. Margins thickened, slightly constricted between seeds. Seeds are dark brown to black, ovoid seed to 10 mm long and 7 mm wide. Seed embryo type is investing.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and December. 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 80%. 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
BGA3,500 (228.16 g)15+14-Dec-2010TST1115
Lake Eyre
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.