Acacia dealbata

Silver Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia dealbata, Silver Wattle, develops into a medium-sized tree that will reach a height of 30 metres.

Bark is smooth, grey-brown to dark grey and becomes fissured with age.

Bipinnate foliage is bluish-grey, this coupled with the whitish appearance of the branchlets gives the species its common name. There is a gland at the junction of each pair of pinnae and the rachis.

The flowers are held in globular clusters with 25-35 bright yellow flowers in each cluster. Blooms are carried from late winter to spring.

A. dealbata occurs in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. Silver Wattle is also grown in Europe where it is known as Mimosa. Sprays of flowers are given out to celebrate Mothers Day.

In the garden

Silver Wattle is a handsome, long-lived tree. Foliage and flowers are attractive features. The species is probably too large for a suburban garden but would make an ideal component in a rural shelterbelt or windbreak on farms. Silver Wattle could also be used as an avenue tree lining the entrance to a rural property.

There is a ground covering form known as “Kambah Karpet”. A specimen is growing in the National Botanic Gardens, Canberra.

Propagation

Propagate from seed that should be soaked in boiling water before sowing.

 

Other information

Gum Arabic is produced from the hardened sap that exudes from the trunk. Bark was used for tanning leather and the foliage is used for dyeing.

Silver Wattle is a timber of choice for furniture designers because of its attractive figure and ready workability. It affords a striking visual contrast to A. melanoxylon (Blackwood), a closely related species.

Silver Wattle is grown in Europe where it is known as Mimosa. Sprays of flowers are given out to celebrate Mothers Day. In Italy, Albania, Russia and Georgia the flowers are often given to women on International Women’s Day. The flower essence is used in perfumes. Leaves are sometimes used in Indian chutney.

The species name refers to the whitish appearance of the branchlets and foliage.

By Warren and Gloria Sheather