Acacia acinacea

Gold Dust Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia acinacea is a small to medium shrub, growing to 2 metres tall.

In NSW, it occurs on the southern and central western slopes and tablelands, as well as and south-western plains; north to about Gilgandra, extending south-east to around Bungonia and south-west to Albury and west to Griffith. It occurs through much of Victoria. In South Australia, it occurs commonly around Adelaide and Port Lincoln, as well as Kangaroo Island.

It is often found in dry sclerophyll woodlands and shrublands.

Australian Wattles at least, can be broadly placed into 1 of 3 recognisable groups:

  • Group 1: Those that produce juvenile compound-bipinnate leaves and then change to producing adult-phyllodes which are modified-flattened petioles which form the foliage. This is combined with flowers produced in globular balls or heads (or ovoid heads). The heads can be singular in leaf/phyllode axils or arranged in groups.
  • Group 2: As for Group 1 but flowers are produced in longer rod-like spikes.
  • Group 3: Those that never produce phyllodes and retain the juvenile compound-bipinnate foliage into adulthood. These always produce flowers in globular balls (which are secondarily arranged into panicle or raceme-like groups in many cases).

This wattle belongs to Group 1.

Phyllodes are small, elliptic with an offset mucro (pointed end). There is a small gland near the centre of the phyllode margin.

The very small staminate flowers occur in globular heads, with 8-20 flowers in each head. The heads are produced singularly on in pairs in the leaf axils; brightly golden, appearing in spring. This is when this species lives up to its common name. At this time, stems really appear to be dusted with gold.

Pods are linear, up to 50 millimetres long and curled.

In the garden

Acacia acinacea is colourful and very hardy. We have specimens that are over ten years old in our cold climate garden.

Pruning after flowering is beneficial. It is found on a wide range of soils in the wild, so it is likely suited to many gardens, so long as drainage is adequate. It can be kept small but puts on a great display.

It is known to be successfully cultivated.


Propagate from seed (pre-treated in boiling water or scarified) and cuttings.

Other information

Most wattles will die in a fire and regenerate from seed. Some species exhibit suckering from basal parts and roots.

Acacia is a highly diverse genus, with over 1500 recognised species (placing it in the top-10 most-diverse plant genera) occurring in most continents except for Europe. Australia has about 970 spp., most of which are endemic. There are also about 10 exotic species. NSW has about 235 recognised species. Some species have become weeds in other states outside of their natural range (e.g., wattles from Western Australia into NSW and vice versa).

Acacia – from Greek Akakia – which refers to an Ancient Greek preparation made from one of the many species; the name of which derives from akis, meaning “thorn” – referring to the thorns of species in Africa.

acinacea – from Ancient Greek – akinakis (ἀκῑνάκης) – referring to a “short sword” or “dagger/scimitar” – likely referring to the appearance and manner in which the pods bend.

The species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Acacia acinacea profile page                  https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Acacia~acinacea

Gardening with Angus – Acacia acinacea profile page            https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/acacia-acinacea-gold-dust-wattle/

Wattle – Acacias of Australia – Acacia acinacea profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/wattle/text/entities/acacia_acinacea.htm

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.


By Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke