Acacia iteaphylla, the Flinders Range Wattle, is a native of South Australia – reaching a height of 0.5 to 4 metres tall and comes in several forms. There is a dwarf form and others that are either medium to tall shrubs with upright growth habit or pendulous branches.
Acacia iteaphylla is confined to southern areas of South Australia, from the Eyre Peninsula to the southern part of the Flinders Ranges. Any occurrences in NSW are thought to be weeds, at this stage.
It typically grows in dry sclerophyll woodland and shrublands as well as disturbed areas such as road verges.
Australian Wattles at least, can be broadly placed into 1 of 3 recognisable groups:
This wattle belongs to Group 1.
Phyllodes are about ten centimetres long, less than one centimetre wide, blue-green and ending in a soft point. Juvenile growth has a pink colour.
The yellow staminate flowers are arranged in globular heads, with up to 20 very small staminate flowers per head. The heads are held in axillary racemes (up to 16 heads per raceme). The racemes are enclosed in large, brown, imbricate (overlapping as roof tiles) bracts. They fall away before flowering. Flowering is said to extend from March to September.
Pods are to 13 cm long and 1.2 cm wide, straight to curved and slightly leathery.
This colourful, long-flowering wattle brings a spring feel our garden (near Armidale, NSW) during the chilly winter months when flowers are a trifle scarce. The majority of our specimens have pendulous branches with a few upright plants. In our garden this species has proved to be very hardy, with low water requirements when established and free flowering. We remember seeing the dwarf form growing as a low hedge in front of the Broken Hill Tourist Centre some years ago. In our cold climate garden, flowering usually starts in mid-February, through autumn, winter and extending into early spring.
It is treated as a weed in NSW so exercise caution when deciding to plant, especially if near bushland. It is not a serious weed at this stage. Good garden practice can include cutting the seed-pods off before they are ripe, once flowering is finished. This can be achieved though general pruning.
Tolerates a range of soils and is hardy once established. But good drainage is advised.
Propagate from seed treated with boiling water or cuttings.
The type specimen was collected by Baron Ferdinand von Mueller in the late 1840’s or early 1850’s from Arkaba Station near Hawker in the southern Flinders Ranges, South Australia. This was during a time when the Baron lived in South Australia before becoming Victoria’s Government Botanist in 1853.
Most wattles will die in a fire and regenerate from seed. Some species exhibit suckering from basal parts and 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.
iteaphylla – from the Greek itia (ιτιά) meaning “willow” and –phylla (φύλλα) meaning “leaves” – referring to the willow-likw leaves of the species.
This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.
NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Acacia iteaphylla profile page https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Acacia~iteaphylla
Gardening with Angus – Acacia iteaphylla profile page https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/acacia-iteaphylla-flinders-range-wattle/
Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.