Acacia montana

Mallee Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia montana is known as the Mallee Wattle. This is a medium to large shrub to 3.5 metres.

It is a widespread species in NSW, occurring across the western plains westen slopes, as well as the central and northern tablelands, in a patchy distribution. It occurs in the western half of Victoria and occurs in an arc to the east of Adelaide, extending to Port August and towards Port Lincoln. It only extends to around the Warwick-area in Queensland and west of here.

It is reportedly found on red sands as well as clayey soils and soil-textures in between, in mallee-shrublands as well as dry sclerophyll woodlands.

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 species belongs to Group 1.

The phyllodes are sticky, leathery, up to 4 cm long by 1 cm wide with distinct veins.

Very small staminate flowers are produced in globular heads, with up to 30 flower per head with heads solitary or in pairs per leaf axil; profuse, conspicuous, and bright yellow, appearing in spring.

Pods are straight to slightly curved, to 5 cm long by 0.4 cm wide.

In the garden

The Mallee Wattle is a hardy, attractive shrub that could be cultivated in native shrubberies. It is known to be cultivated and grows reliably.

Can likely tolerate a variety of soils, given its geographic range, provided drainage is adequate.

Prune behind the flowers as they fade. This will keep plants dense and blooming bounteously.

In our cold climate garden (near Armidale, NSW), it reaches a height of 2 metres.


Propagate from seed and cuttings.

Other information

The species was first described in the London Journal of Botany Volume 1, 1842. The type was collected “in the Highlands near the Liverpool Plains, NSW” by Charles Fraser.

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.

montana – Latin for “mountainous” – referring to the habitat where it was collected and first described. However, it grows well-away from mountain regions as well.

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

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

Plants of South-Western NSW Online – Acacia montana profile page  https://keys.lucidcentral.org/keys/v3/scotia/key/Plants%20and%20Fungi%20of%20south%20western%20NSW/Media/Html/Acacia_montana.htm

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.