Acacia brownii

Heath Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia brownii, the Heath Wattle, is a small shrub reaching a height of one metre.

The phyllodes are rigid, 4-angled, about two centimetres long and crowned with a sharp point.

The very small, staminate flowers are held in globular clusters  or heads with 12-30 flowers in each head, and bright yellow. Heads are produced singularly in the axil of each phyllode. Plants become covered with the bright yellow blooms in spring. Because the phyllodes are widely spaced, the flowers are well displayed.

The pods may be curved or straight, leathery, with slight constrictions between seeds and frequently brittle with age.

The Heath Wattle is widespread in eastern NSW as well as Queensland and Victoria. It grows in NSW commonly in the coastal subdivisons, spreading west through the tablelands and into the central western slopes. 

In the garden

This wattle is known to be cultivated but is not overly common in cultivation. The main reason may be that there are nicer wattles to grow and this one is prickly. However, it is an attractive species in its own right. Plant on a sandy and well-draining soil in full sun. 

Because of the prickly foliage, this wattle could be used to restrict movement to areas that require protection.


Propagate from seed that will need soaking 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 (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.

brownii – named after Scottish botanist Robert Brown (1773 – 1858), a prominent botanist in the early study of Australian plants, and who accompanied Matthew Flinders on his Australian voyage on The Investigator. This taxon was previously known as A. brownei.

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

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

Wattle – Acacias of Australia – Acacia brownii profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/wattle/text/entities/acacia_brownii.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.