Acacia baileyana

Cootamundra Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia baileyana is a large shrub to small tree, growing to 8 m tall. It is indigenous to a very small area in southern inland New South Wales, comprising Temora, Cootamundra, Stockinbingal and Bethungra districts, on the western slopes subdivisions of NSW but has naturalised in places like Sydney and the northern and south tablelands, as well as Qld, Vic, SA and WA.

Leaves are compound-bipinnate (Jacaranda-type) to about 4 cm long, ash grey-green or bluish, the pinnae (groups of leaflets or pinnules) are to 3 cm long with pinnules about 1 cm long and 0.1 cm wide.

Inflorescences are very showy, being very bright (fluorescent) yellow in late winter, often obscuring foliage. Flowers are produced in globular heads to 7 mm diameter which each head having up to 25 very small, staminate flowers. Heads are produced in racemes with up to 35 heads per raceme, emerging from the leaf axils

Pods straight or sometimes slightly curved and purplish when young, 10 cm long and 1.5 cm wide.

Will withstand frost.

In the garden

Fast growing and relatively short lived and suitable as a screen plant.

Attracts bees and seed eating birds.

The flowers are very showy and eye-catching.

Grows in full sun to light shade, in well-drained to moderate moist soils

This species does tend to self-seed, so it is best not to plant it near areas of natural bushland to prevent it from establishing unwanted populations. It can be found growing in areas such as Sydney sandstone woodlands.

Acacias can suffer from a number of pests, including borers, scale, galls and leaf miners. Growing plants suitable to your local environment minimises these occurring.


Propagation is easy from scarified seed by covering with boiling water for 24 hours and discarding any seeds still floating on the surface.

Other information

There is a form with purplish foliage known as A. baileyana ‘Purpurea’ and a prostate form also available.

It is known to hybridise readily with other bipinnate wattles.

A. baileyana is used in Europe in the cut flower industry. It is also used as food for bees in the production of honey.

Most wattles regenerate from seed after fire.

Acacia – from Greek akis, meaning a thorn or “thorny”.
baileyana – honours the botanist Frederick Manson Bailey (1827-1915) who made valuable contributions to the classification of Queensland Flora.


By Jeff Howes