Plants of
South Australia
Acacia salicina
Willow wattle,
Broughton Willow
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 4

Prior names

Racosperma salicinum

Acacia varians

Acacia salicina var. varians

Common names

Willow wattle

Broughton Willow


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. Salicina is derived from the genus Salix, a Latin word for willow and referring to its pendulous, willow-like habit.

Distribution and status

Found scattered across the eastern side of South Australia, growing in open woodland or tall open shrubland along creek banks and flood plains on grey cracking and self mulching clays, calcareous loamy, alkaline and neutral red duplex. Also found in the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Green Adelaide
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Tall shrubs or small trees to 6 m high, often found in groves due to suckering habit, with distinctive long drooping branchlets and pendulous blue-green foliage and hard, rough, grey-brown, fissured bark. Leaves broad-linear or narrow-oblanceolate, to12 cm long and 2 cm wide, flat more or less flaccid, pendulous with 1 central vein. Inflorescences axillary and solitary or mostly in racemes with 2-6 pale yellow globular flower-heads. Flowering irregularly throughout the year but mainly between February and June. Fruits narrowly oblong to 12 cm long and 1 cm wide, flat or somewhat biconvex, thick and woody with an almost straight margin. Seeds are hard, dark brown to black with a scarlet aril. Seed embryo type is investing.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between May and August. 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. This species has physical dormancy that needs to be overcome for the seed to germinate (e.g. nicking or softening the seed coat).