Acacia implexa

Hickory Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia implexa, the Hickory Wattle, is a small to medium sized tree that will reach a height of 12 metres.

It has a very large natural range and there are a range of leaf-forms observed; growing through the entirety of the NSW coast, tablelands and western slopes areas, as far west as Nyngan. It extends as far as Cairns in Queensland, as far west as towards Augathella and it extends through most of Victoria with the exception of the far-west. It is a wattle that will naturalise and colonise outside of its home-range from planting and general seed dispersal, especially along road verges.

Bark is rough and greyish.

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 are sickle-shaped to straight, and up to 20 centimetres long by up to 3 cm wide, with a small basal gland.

Thirty to fifty cream flowers are held in globular heads or clusters and these are carried in axillary racemes. The main flowering period is in summer with sporadic flowering at other times.

The pods, that follow the flowers, are curved, coiled and twisted.

In the garden

In cultivation species could be used in windbreaks and woodlots.

Hickory Wattles are a versatile plant. It flowers when other wattles have finished. The foliage is used for dyeing cloth, the bark for tanning leather and the wood for furniture and tool handles. The species also produces excellent, long burning firewood. Crimson Rosellas are partial to the ripening seeds. A. implexa suckers and could be used for erosion control.

It is a very hardy plant and will last many years. Pruning occassionally likely results in better flowering over the following years. They can flower very nicely as the globular heads are typically larger than many other wattles.


Propagate from seed that should be soaked in boiling water before sowing.

Other information

The type specimen was collected in the early 1800’s in the “Ravines of Shoal Haven River, E. Coast” by Alan Cunningham.

Most wattles will die in a fire and regenerate from seed. This species can sucker from basal parts of trunks and lateral roots.

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.

implexa – Latin referring to “entangled” or “entwined” – referring to the seed pods forming a tangled mess when produced en masse.

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

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

Australian National Herbarium – Acacia implexa profile page           https://www.anbg.gov.au/acacia/species/A-implexa.html

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.