Acacia linifolia

White or Flax-leaved Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia linifolia is known as the White or Flax-leaved Wattle and if often seen as a small to large shrub about 4 m tall.

It is confined mostly to the central coast area of NSW, extending from the Hunter Valley to about Hill Top in the southern highlands.

It is found in dry sclerophyll woodland and forests, often on sandstone and sandy-soils but can also be found on shale-sandstone transition and shale 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 1.

The phyllodes are crowded, linear, flat and up to 40 millimetres long. There is a small, almost obscure, gland near the centre of the phyllodes.

Very small lemon-yellow staminate flowers are carried in globular heads, each head up to 6 mm in diameter consisting of up to 12 flowers. Heads are arranged in axillary racemes of up to 15 or so. Branches are covered by blooms in early spring.

They are followed by oblong pods (see thumbnail).

In the garden

Author’s notes:

In our cold climate garden plants reach a height of four metres. Branches are pendulous.

Growth habit, foliage and flowers are all attractive features.

Acacia linifolia would be an ideal specimen for informal hedges and screens. The species appreciates light pruning occasionally.

Editor’s notes:

A species that can be cultivated and can also be sourced from native nurseries. It requires good drainage. It can suffer from dieback but is an attractive wattle.


In our cold climate garden, there is no problem with viable seed set. Because of their hard coats, seeds require soaking in boiling water before sowing.

Other information

Acacia linifolia has an interesting horticultural history.

The species was introduced into England in 1790. It was among the first plant importations from Australia and was recorded as growing in a London nursery in 1810. Flax-leaved Wattle was its common name then. Plants flowered well in conservatories and greenhouses but did not set viable seed.

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.

linifolia – Latin – referring to Linum (Flax) – for the appearance of the foliage.

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

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

Gardening with Angus – Acacia linifolia profile page            https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/acacia-linifolia-flax-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.

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