Acacia chalkeri

Chalker's wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Grows to 4 m high and about 2 m wide, with a bushy habit.

It is a species confined to a small area around the Wombeyan Caves in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales (north-west of Mittagong) where it grows in shallow limestone-enriched soils.

It is found in dry sclerophyll woodlands.

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 grey-green phyllodes (modified leaves) are ascending to erect with an oblanceolate shape and a length to 6 cm and about 1 cm wide.

Flowering occurs between October and January. Flowers are produced in globular heads, to 6 mm in diameter with up to 25 very small, staminate flowers in each head. The heads are produced in racemes of up to 9, emerging from leaf axils.

Seed pods are around 9 cm long and less than 1 cm wide, containing shiny black seeds.

In the garden

Not too much is currently known about its cultivation potential. It may be more widely cultivated in the future.

It naturally occurs on limestone soil. However, it will reportedly grow in most soils in full sun.

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

Considered similar to Acacia amoena which has longer phyllodes and fewer flower-heads in each raceme.

Most wattles regenerate from seed after fire with some species exhibiting basal re-shooting.

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.

chalkeri – named after Thomas Michael Chalker who worked as a caretaker and the first guide at Wombeyan Caves, NSW, in the years 1888-1925.

This species is not considered at risk of extinction in the wild, although it has a restricted distribution.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Acacia chalkeri profile page

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

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke