Acacia falcata

Burra, Sickle wattle, Silver-leaved wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia falcata is a spindly and flexuous shrub, growing to 5 m high and only about 1 m wide. It has a somewhat arching/weeping habit.

It grows from Queensland, south through eastern New South Wales to Bermagui on the south coast. Its range extends into the tablelands and central western slopes.

It grows predominantly on shale soils or rocky-based soils in open dry sclerophyll forests and 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 phyllodes (modified leaves) are a pale green or grey-green and sickle-shaped, measuring to 20 cm in length, by 4 cm wide with a prominent mid vein.

Flowers are cream or pale-yellow and produced in globular heads with each head having up to 20 very small staminate flowers. The globular heads are arranged in racemes of up to 20 in leaf axils. They appear in early winter from June to August.

These are followed by thin seed pods which are to 12 cm long and 1 cm wide. The pods mature from September to December.

In the garden

Grows best in a sunny, reasonably well drained positions in most soils and is frost hardy (will tolerate frosts to -7°C).  It is very hardy plant that revegetates cleared land especially around Sydney. Often used to revegetate road barriers as well.

May be short lived in a garden but worth the effort for the flowers are attractive. They can be planted in a copse if desired.

Pruning after flowering may encourage density of branching.

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

Australian indigenous people used the bark to make a liniment for treating ailments of the skin.

Fire destroys plants in the wild but, like most wattles, it will reproduce from seed in large numbers.

This species can be confused with A. falciformis which is a much larger plant when mature. Acacia falcata has a phyllode gland located very close to the base of the phyllodes, whereas A. falciformis has a gland further up the phyllode.

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.

falcata – named from the Latin word falx meaning “sickle” for its sickle-shaped leaves.

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

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

Wikipedia – Acacia falcata profile page                                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia_falcata

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 Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.