Acacia genistifolia

Early Wattle, Spreading Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia genistifolia is a prickly shrub growing to 3 m high, in dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands in NSW, Victoria, and Tasmania. Usually found on gravel and shaley soils. It grows south from about Bathurst, west to Grenfell and Griffith, also recorded in the Warramgamba Catchment. It extends south through the tablelands and western slopes, as well as south western plains, into Victoria.

The phyllodes (modified leaves) are rigid, needle-like to 40 mm long and about 3 mm wide with a sharp point. They are 4-angled in cross-section.

Flowers are produced in globular heads, up to 8 mm diameter which are solitary in the leaf axils; pale yellow to white, occurring in mid-autumn to spring. Each head can have up to 30 very small staminate flowers.

The seed pods are 5 cm long and 3 mm wide, curved and evenly constricted between the seeds.

In the garden

Not a large amount is known about its cultivation but reported to be cultivated (see resources). It is a prickly plant, so place in a suitable spot. Reported to be adaptable in a sunny position with well-drained soil. May provide shelter for small birds. Can flower profusely.

Frost hardy and suitable for low maintenance.

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

Most wattles regenerate from seed after fire with some species exhibiting suckering from the basal areas.

Acacia from Greek acis, meaning a thorn or “thorny”.
genistifolia has foliage resembling some species of the genus Genista – a genus of plants referred to as Brooms.

Not considered to be at risk in the wild. Widespread.


By Dan Clarke