Acacia ashbyae

Ashby's Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia ashbyae is a spreading, small to medium shrub that will reach a height of 2 metres with a spread of 3 metres.

It is endemic to Western Australia, growing from Coorow to Toolonga Nature Reserve (south-east and north-east of Geraldton).

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.

The phyllodes vary in shape and are usually 3-9 centimetres long by 1-3 millimetres wide. They are flat, light green and new growth is clothed in white to cream hairs.

Up to 20 very small staminate flowers are produced in globular to shortly-cylindrical heads, about 1 cm long and a bit less wide, golden-yellow in colour; 1 or 2 heads per leaf axil. Flowers make an appearance in mid spring.

Pods are narrow, brittle and constricted between seeds.

In the garden

Acacia ashbyae is a very decorative wattle with long, spreading branches. In our garden plants have proved to be hardy once established, fast growing and free flowering. Pruning is appreciated after flowering.


Propagate from seed that should be soaked in boiling water before sowing and cuttings. We find that this species is one of the easiest wattles to propagate from cuttings.

Other information

Most wattles regenerate from seed after fire with some species exhibiting suckering from basal areas.

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 (eg: 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.

ashbyae – named in 1974 after Miss Alison Ashby (1901-1987) who was a 20th-century plant collector and skilled botanical artist; and a member of the South Australian branch of the former Society for Growing Australian Plants. Ashby collected many specimens now housed in the Perth and Adelaide Herbaria.

This species is not known to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

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

Muchae Tree Farm – Acacia ashbyae sales page                      https://mucheatreefarm.com.au/product/acacia-ashbyae/

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