Acacia deanei

Deane’s Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia deanei, Deane’s Wattle, is a tall, upright shrub or small tree reaching 7 metres tall to several metres wide.

It is a very widespread species in NSW, growing through the entirety of the central western slopes and western plains, and into the west of the tablelands. It extends into Queensland, through the central interior to as far north as Gladstone and as far west as Adavale; and into Victoria, with a patchy distribution, as far west as around Wedderburn and Ararat.

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).

It is thought that Groups 1 and 2 are more highly evolved than Group 3.

This species is of Group 3 with light green bipinnate-foliage to about 8 cm long and wide.

Acacia spp. produce small 5-merous flowers, with 5 very small petals partly-fused into a short tube which sits above a fused calyx. The stamens are the main feature which are produced in high numbers per flower (staminate flowers), surrounding a single style.  In this species, plants carry pale yellow, globular-heads of flowers throughout the year with each head consisting of up to 50 very small staminate flowers. The heads are arranged in narrow racemes.

The fruit is a pod. In this species, about 12 cm long and only to 1.1 cm wide.

In the garden

Author’s notes:

Deane’s Wattle could be cultivated as a stand-alone specimen plant, in native hedgerows and windbreaks.

Both foliage and flowers are features of this attractive wattle. Deane’s Wattle will bring that spring time feeling to the garden throughout the year.

There are two sub-species. Botanically there are differences but our feeling is that horticulturally they are identical.

We have a number of specimens growing in our cold climate garden (near Armidale). Some are over ten years old and are still surviving, thriving and blooming bounteously throughout the year.


Propagate from seed that should be treated with boiling water before sowing.

Other information

We are sentimentally attached to Acacia deanei because it grew in large numbers around our home when we lived and worked in Warrumbungle National Park many years ago.

Most wattles die from fire and regenerate from seed. Some species can sucker from basal parts.

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.

deanei – named in Honour of Henry Deane (1847-1924), a railway engineer and amateur botanist, who collected the type specimen. Deane published a series of papers on native timbers and worked on botanical fossils with geologists of the time.

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

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

Wikipedia – Acacia deanei profile page                                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia_deanei

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.