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Acacia pubescens

A rare species which is listed as Vulnerable in both State and Federal legislation. The most significant threat is habitat loss and degradation as its natural distribution is within the footprint of Sydney’s urban expansion.

Recruitment is more commonly from vegetative suckers than from seedlings and the percentage of pod production and seed fall appears to be low. A study of the genetic variation at ten sites, revealed cloning at all sites, and that most sites contained fewer than four individual genotypes. One genetic individual can cover up to 1.2 ha. This means that although a population appears to be healthy and have many individual plants, the genetic diversity at any one site is quite low which can affect the population’s ability to respond to environmental changes.

Acacia species generally have high seed dormancy and long-lived persistent soil seedbanks. It is thought that Acacia pubescens needs a minimum fire free period of 5-7 years to allow an adequate seedbank to develop.

Luckily a number of populations are conserved within our National Parks system and these are managed with reference to the Recovery Plan.

Common namedowny wattle
Scientific nameAcacia pubescens R.Br.
FamilyFabaceae - Mimosoideae

Genus: Greek, akakia, the name of Acacia arabica, of tropical Africa and western Asia (from akis, a sharp point, as this is a spiny species).

Species: From Latin, covered with short, soft hairs.

DistributionRestricted to the Cumberland Plain area of Sydney, New South Wales. Concentrated around the Bankstown-Fairfield-Rookwood area and the Pitt Town area, with outliers occurring at Barden Ridge, Oakdale and Mountain Lagoon.
Native habitatOccurs usually on clay soils in open woodland and forest, in a variety of plant communities.
DescriptionA spreading shrub, 1-5 m high with brilliant yellow flowers, bipinnate leaves (divided twice pinnately) and conspicuously hairy branchlets.
Flowering/fruitingFlowers from August to October.
Location in gardenIn Beds 28 and 29 in the Connections Garden and in Beds 126 and 134 in the Wattle Garden.
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