Acacia doratoxylon


Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia doratoxylon, Currawong or Spearwood, is an upright small tree that may reach a height of eight metres.

It has a large natural inland range in NSW, across the tablelandsm, central western slopes and western plains, growing as far north as the Ashford-Texas (Queensland) region within NSW and as far west as Ivanhoe. However, there are also records in southern-central Queensland to as far west as Charleville. It extends slightly into Victoria – south-west of Albury and to the south-east close to the border.

It typically grows in dry sclerophyll woodlands and shrublands, often on higher ground on shallow and rocky soils – mostly sandy.

The bark is hard and fissured.

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 if of Group 2: Phyllodes are more or less linear, up to 20 centimetres long and 7 millimetres wide and grey-green. Usually glands are absent but occasionally a small gland is present at the base of the phyllodes. The foliage has been used as stock fodder during drought.

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, golden flowers are held in rod-shaped clusters with from two to five at the base of each phyllode. Blooms are profuse and conspicious and appear in spring.

The fruit is a pod. In this species, it is about 10 cm long to 0.4 cm wide, usually flat.

In the garden

A. doratoxylon is an ornamental species and three planted close would make an interesting specimen group in a lawn. Shelterbelts and windbreaks would also benefit from the inclusion of the Spearwood.


Propagate from seed and possibly cuttings. Seed should be treated with boiling water before sowing.

Other information

Most wattles die in a fire and regenerate from seed. Some species may be able to sucker from basal parts.

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.

doratoxylon – from Greek doratos (δόρατος) meaning “spear” and –xylo (ξύλο) meaning “wood” – referring to timber of this species being used by First Nations Peoples of Australia for spears.

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

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

Wikipedia – Acacia doratoxylon profile page                       https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia_doratoxylon

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.