Acacia longifolia

Sydney Golden Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia longifolia is commonly known as the Sydney Golden Wattle, and is a tall shrub or small tree that may reach a height of 6 to 7 metres, typically with a wide spread if in the open.

It is a beautiful wattle with a wide distribution and is found in coastal districts from Queensland to northeast Victoria. Populations also extend into the Northern Tablelands of NSW. It is found in foredunes and part of sclerophyll woodland or coastal heath and scrub communities.

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 2.

The phyllodes are flat, up to 18 centimetres long, to 3 cm wide with several longitudinal veins and a small gland near the base.

Bright golden-yellow staminate flowers are carried in spikes with a pair of spikes at the base of each phyllode, to about 5 cm long by 8 mm wide. In late winter and spring the blooms are both conspicuous and profuse.

Straight or curved pods follow the flowers and hold many seeds.

In the garden

This wattle grows best in full sun. It tolerates shade, but its foliage will be less dense. It tolerates salt, wind and some frost.

It prefers well drained soils and performs well on sandy soils. It tolerates some periods of drought. It is good in coastal gardens, as a windbreak or screen. It also provides habitat for birds and insects.

It has a useful life of about 10 years. A light prune after flowering will assist in keeping it bushy with prolific flowering.


Propagate from seed that should be treated with boiling water before sowing.

Other information

Acacia longifolia is widely cultivated in subtropical regions of the world for various uses including prevention of soil erosion, food and dye from the flowers and bark. In some areas, it has become a major weed.

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.

longifolia – Latin – referring to long leaves.

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

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Acacia longifolia profile page.                https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl%26lvl=sp%26name=Acacia~longifolia

EFlora SA – Electronic Flora of South Australia – Acacia longifolia fact sheet       http://www.flora.sa.gov.au/cgi-bin/speciesfacts_display.cgi?form=speciesfacts&name=Acacia_longifolia%20var.%20sophorae

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

Wikipedia, Acacia longifolia profile page

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