Acacia leptoclada

Tingha Golden Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

An attractive and spreading shrub to 3 metres tall.

The Tingha Golden Wattle is found on the North West Slopes and Northern Tablelands of NSW – in an area generally bounded by Yetman-Warialda, Guyra and Barraba. Tingha is a village near Inverell on the Northern Tablelands of NSW. One of the strongholds, of Acacia leptoclada, is the Goonoowigall State Conservation Area. This large, bushland area protects a range of interesting native plants including A. leptoclada and is situated near Inverell.

It grows in dry sclerophyll woodland and forest on sandy, granite-based and serpentinite soils.

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 3.

Bark is smooth, grey or greenish brown.

The bipinnate foliage is fine and feathery with small leaflets, with overall leaves typically reaching only 2 to 3 cm long. The individual pinnules are only to 4 mm long.

In mid-spring plants, become covered with large, globular, golden-yellow flower heads. The heads are to 12 mm diameter, consisting of up to 45 very small staminate flowers, with heads arranged in racemes of up to 12, in leaf axils.

Pods are straight, to slightly curved, to 10 cm long and 1 cm wide.

In the garden

Acacia leptoclada is an ideal shrub to slot into a native shrubbery. In spring its golden flowers will light up that part of the garden. It is very attractive when in flower.

It is not overly common in cultivation but is cultivated successfully. Give a sunny spot on a sandy to granite soil – moderately to well-drained. It will also grow on poor rocky soils (serpentinite)


Author’s notes: We have been interested in propagating wattles from cuttings and have had some success with those with phyllodes. We tried cuttings of the bipinnate Acacia leptoclada and were very happy with the result. Cuttings produced roots rapidly and in large numbers (see thumbnail).

Although our specimen blooms profusely no pods are produced after flowering. Because cuttings produce roots readily we have been able to produce more plants of this attractive and unusual wattle and spread them throughout the garden.

Other information

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.

leptoclada derived from the Greek words leptos (λεπτός) meaning “thin”, “fine” or “slender” and clada – from the Greek kladi (κλαδί) meaning “branch” – referring to the thin and slender branches of the species.

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

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

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

By Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.