Acacia gladiiformis

Sword-wattle or Sword-leaf wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia gladiiformis grows to 3 m tall with a spread to about 2 metres.

It is found on the tablelands and western slopes of the Great Dividing Range in New South Wales, from Warialda in the north through to around Cowra in the south. It extends into Queensland with records at Glenmorgan and near Warwick (although there are very few records for the state).

It grows in dry sclerophyll woodlands and forests, often on sandy soils as well as granite and other rocky sites.

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.

Phyllodes (modified leaves) are narrowly oblanceolate, to 15 cm and to about 1 cm wide, mid to dark-green in colour.

Flowers are produced in globular heads, to 1 cm diameter, with each head containing up to 50 very small, staminate flowers. The heads are arranged in groups/racemes of up to 12, produced in the leaf axils, between July and October.

The seed pods have a length of up to 15 cm and a width to 1 cm.

In the garden

A wattle that is very attractive in flower with handsome foliage and suitable for growing in home gardens. This plant is useful for revegetation of sites with poor soils.

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

Very similar to Acacia hakeoides and may be confused with such. A. hakeoides has fewer flowers per globular head.

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).

Most wattles will regenerate from seed after fire but may also reshoot from the 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.

gladiiformis – from the Latin word gladio meaning “sword” (origin of words such as “gladiator”) and –formis meaning “forms” – in reference to the shape of the phyllodes .

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

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

Wattle – Acacias of Australia – Acacia gladiiformis profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/wattle/text/entities/acacia_gladiiformis.htm

Wikipedia – Acacia gladiiformis profile page                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia_gladiiformis

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.