Acacia baileyana

Distribution Map
Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae
Distribution: Mallee vegetation in the Cootamundra area of the central west slopes and south west slopes of New South Wales. The species has also become naturalised in many other areas.
Common Name: Cootamundra wattle.
Derivation of Name: Acacia; from Greek acis, a thorn.
baileyana; After F M Bailey, former Queensland Colonial Botanist.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Acacia baileyana is a small tree from 3 to 10 metres high. It is one of those species which retain the fern-like, bipinnate foliage throughout their lives (in most other species, the bipinnate foliage is replaced by flattened stems called phyllodes). The pinnae (the divisions of the pinnate leaves) are up to 30 mm long and silvery-grey in colour. The plant has smooth, greyish brown bark. The bright yellow flower clusters are globular in shape and are produced in the leaf axils in late winter to spring.

Acacia baileyana
Acacia baileyana
Photo from Wikimedia Commons and reproduced under the GNU Free Documentation License

Acacia baileyana is one of the best known members of the genus and is widely planted both in Australia and overseas. It is a hardy plant suitable for a wide range of climates and soils, provided they are reasonably well drained, and is best grown in full sun. Unfortunately, the plant has a tendency to become naturalised and is now considered to be an environmental weed in many areas. For this reason it should not be grown in areas anywhere near natural bushland.

At least two cultivars are in cultivation: 'Purpurea', with purplish new growth, and a low-growing prostrate or spreading form.

The plant is also well know through the song "Cootamundra Wattle" by John Williamson.

Propagation is relatively easy by normal seed raising methods following pretreatment by soaking in boiling water or by scarification. Propagation from cuttings may also be successful.

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