Acacia falciformis

Road-leaved Hickory, Hickory Wattle, Mountain Hickory, Large-leaf Wattle, Tanning Wattle, Black Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia falciformis grows to 10 m high and has an erect or spreading habit.

It grows down the east coast of Australia in coastal areas and extending over the Great Dividing Range to the western slopes in a variety of habitats including moist rocky slopes, gullies and along watercourses. It also grows in Victoria and Qld.

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 one belongs to Group 1.

The phyllodes are usually oblanceolate or oblong-oblanceolate or narrowly elliptic, straight to falcate, to 22 cm long, and 4 cm wide, glabrous and mostly green to blue-green.

Flowers are arranged in globular heads, with diameter to 6 mm, containing up to 25 pale yellow/bright yellow to cream-coloured, very small staminate flowers, occurring in July to October. The globular heads are arranged into racemes in leaf axils with up to about 20 heads per raceme.

The flat, leathery, brown seed pods are more or less straight but can be slightly curved, to 13 cm in length and to 2.5 cm wide and contain shiny, black seeds.

In the garden

A hardy plant in a well-drained situation. It is an attractive wattle with very distinctive foliage and would be useful to create habitat in a larger garden or landscape area.

Frost hardy to -7°C.

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

First Nations Peoples of Australia used the leaves as a fish poison. Bark was used medicinally to treat skin diseases. Timber was used for woomeras.

Most wattles will regenerate from seed after fire. Some species can sucker from basal parts.

This species can be easily confused, when at the small-sapling stage, with Acacia falcata. Acacia falciformis has a phyllode gland usually about 3 cm above the leaf stalk (petiole) which causes a distinct change of direction or pinch in the leaf margin – a useful identifying feature. The phyllode-gland of A. falcata is close to the petiole. Acacia falciformis is a much larger plant at maturity.

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.

falciformis – refers to the falcate shape of the phyllodes – from the Latin “falz” meaning “sickle”.

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

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

Wikipedia – Acacia falciformis profile page                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia_falciformis

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.