Acacia maidenii

Maiden's Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

A tree growing to 20 m tall, erect or spreading, with deeply fissured bark.

It grows along the coast of NSW and into the tablelands and central western slopes, and into Victoria and Queensland, growing as far north, along the coast, to Townsville. There is only one cluster of records in Victoria at Orbost.

It grows primarily in areas near the coast in higher rainfall areas on the margins of rainforest and in wet sclerophyll forest.

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 (modified leaves) are dark green, alternate along the stem and reach 20 cm in length and to 3 cm wide.

Staminate flowers are produced in spikes up to 6 cm long, made up of very small staminate flowers, pale yellow, that often occur singularly in axils of phyllodes or clusters of two to three.

Seed pods are twisted or coiled 1 or more times, to 15 cm long and 0.5 cm wide.

In the garden

It makes an attractive ornamental tree along streets and in parks. It is very good for reforestation in suitable areas.

Prefers full sum to partial shade with an ample supply of water.

Acacias can suffer from a number of pests, including borers, scale, galls and leaf miners. Growing plants suitable to your local environment minimises these occurring.


Propagation is easy from scarified seed by covering with boiling water for 24 hours and discarding any seeds still floating on the surface.

Other information

It has been introduced into India, (Tamil Nadu) and Argentina, and it grows on plantations in South Africa.

It is very fast growing, reaching 1.5 m tall in as little as five months.

The exudates from the trunk (like gum or pitch) have been used in the past for food by First Nations People of Australia.

Most wattles regenerate from seed after fire with some species exhibiting suckering from bases of trunks.

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.

maidenii – named after Joseph Henry Maiden (b.1859 – d.1925), appointed Government Botanist and Director of the Botanic Gardens in Sydney in 1896, retiring in 1924. He was instrumental in establishing the formal herbarium, with a purpose-built building, a botanical museum and lecture room, and established a network of collectors and correspondents.

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

Wikipedia – Acacia maidenii profile page                                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia_maidenii

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

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 Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.