Acacia penninervis

Mountain Hickory Wattle, or Blackwood

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

A variable plant, growing to 8 m tall. Widespread, especially in inland areas of Victoria, ACT and NSW. It grows with the entire NSW coastal and tablelands subdivisions, as well as the central and north western slopes and into the north far western plains. Also into Qld and Vic.
It is typically found in moist and dry sclerophyll forest and woodland.

It is an introduced species in New Zealand.

The phyllodes (modified leaves) are glabrous and green/ grey-green with a narrowly oblanceolate or narrowly elliptic shape to 15 cm long and to 4 cm wide (and a lot of variation is observed).

Flowers are produced in globular heads, to 1 cm diameter, with up to 30 very small staminate flowers per head. The heads are clustered in the axils of phyllodes with up to 30 heads per raceme.

Pods can be up to 20 cm long and about 2 cm wide.

In the garden

Attractive tall shrub to tree and grows best in full sun with some moisture.

Flowers are attractive to bees. It is also known to be a host to the Common Imperial Blue Butterfly.

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

There are two other varieties both of which have variable phyllodes (shape and size).
Acacia penninervis var. longiracemosa (confined to a few records on the North Coast of NSW).
Acacia penninervis var. penninervis (remainder of range).

Most wattles regenerate from seed after fire, with some species exhibiting suckering from the base.

Acacia from Greek acis, meaning a thorn or “thorny”.
penninervis refers to the leaf veins arising on each side of a midrib like barbs from the shaft of a feather; pinnately veined.

Not considered to be at risk in the wild.


By Jeff Howes