Acacia buxifolia

Box-leaf Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia buxifolia, the Box-leaf Wattle, grows to 4 m tall.

It occurs in dry sclerophyll forest, woodland or heath in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Most of its distribution is through NSW, through the entirety of the tablelands and western slopes. It extends into south-eastern Queensland, extending north-west to almost Tambo. It grows roughly between Omeo, Euroa, Wangaratta and Beachworth in Victoria.

It is typically found on hills, slopes and plains and grows in sandy, clay or loam soils. There is a form growing on the Northern Tablelands of NSW that develops into a dwarf shrub reaching a height of one metre.

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 to three centimetres long by one centimetre wide with a soft point. Sometimes there is a small gland about one third along the phyllode.

Inflorescences are produced as globular heads with each head having up to 30 very small staminate flowers, golden yellow, carried during spring and early summer. The globular heads are arranged in groups of 2 to 14 in leaf axils.

The flowers are followed by pods, to 7 cm long with a bluish colour (see photo).

In the garden

An attractive and hardy shrub with masses of golden globular flower heads. Best in a sunny, reasonably well drained position, in most soils.

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.

As the flowers fade, cut off each flowering branch behind the spent blooms. This promotes fresh growth, more flowers and extends the life of the plants.

Frost hardy to -7 degrees C.


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

Cutting propagation may be possible.

Other information

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

There are two subspecies differing in their flower heads and phyllode characteristics.

  • Acacia buxifolia subsp. buxifolia
  • Acacia buxifolia subsp. pubiflora.

This species is very similar to A. lunata and A. leucolobia.

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.

buxifolia – Latin – buxi – referring to the genus Buxus (English and Japanese Box) and –folia meaning leaf, referring to the Box-like foliage (hence the common name).

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

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

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

Wattle – Acacias of Australia – Acacia buxifolia profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/wattle/text/entities/acacia_buxifolia_subsp._buxifolia.htm

Wikipedia – Acacia buxifolia profile page                                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia_buxifolia

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