Acacia boormanii

Snowy River Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia boormanii, the Snowy River Wattle, develops into a medium, many-branched shrub that reaches a height of four metres.

In NSW, it occurs only on the southern tablelands, recorded generally south of the ACT to across the border. It grows in Victoria, almost in a stright north-south zone to the coast (east of Bairnsdale), but also in other disjunct pockets south of Wangaratta and east of Melbourne.

It is typically found in dry scleorphyll woodlands and forests, often in gullies and along streams.

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 linear to narrow elliptic, up to 60 millimetres long, grey-green with a small gland near the base.

The inflorescences are globular heads, to 6 mm in diameter, with 5 to 10 very small staminate flowers per head. Heads are arranged in racemes of up to 14 in leaf (phyllode) axils, golden-yellow in colour, appearing in spring.

Pods are linear and up to ten centimetres long (see thumbnail).

In the garden

Author’s notes: Acacia boormanii is a beautiful wattle. In spring plants are covered with blooms. The grey-green foliage provides a contrasting background to the flowers. Prune behind the flowers when they fade to keep plants bushy and blooming bounteously.

In our cold climate garden (near Armidale, NSW), some Snowy River Wattles sucker and have formed colourful clumps.

It is not overly fussy about soil types but usually found on loams such as clay loams and rocky soils


Propagate from seed and possibly cuttings. Seed needs to be soaked in boiling water before sowing.

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 (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.

boormanii – named after John Luke Boorman (1864 – 1938) who worked as a collector and botanist for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney from 1887 to 1930. The species was named by Joseph Maiden.

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

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

Australian National Herbarium – Acacia boormanii profile page    https://www.anbg.gov.au/acacia/species/A-boormanii.html

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