Acacia podalyriifolia

Mount Morgan Wattle, Queensland Silver Wattle, Queensland Wattle, Pearl Acacia, Pearl Wattle and Silver Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

A large shrub to small tree, growing to 6 metres high and around the same width.

It is found in open forest and woodland in eastern Queensland where it extends up to mainly Rockhampton and to the south-west of here then with a disjunct occurrence south of Cairns. It grows just into the top of NSW on the North Coast. It has naturalised further south in NSW, as well as in Western Australia and South Australia (in a similar fashion to Acacia baileyana). It can be seen growing weedy in Sydney.

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 in Group 1.

The phyllodes (modified leaves) are elliptic to broadly elliptic or ovate, ± straight, to 5 cm long and to about 3 cm wide, and silver-grey in colour.

Very small staminate flowers are produced in globular heads to 8 mm diameter, with up to 30 flowers per head. The heads are produced in racemes, in phyllode axils, with up to 22 heads per raceme. The flower colour is a very fluorescent yellow and very eye-catching against the grey foliage. It can bloom throughout the year, but mainly in July-August.

Seed pods are straight or twisted and flat to 12 cm long and to 2 cm wide, quite rectangular to squarish.

In the garden

It is a popular and widely cultivated plant which may flower as early as in its second year. It is very useful as a quick growing screening plant as it generally retains a bushy shape. The species is suited to a wide range of climates and soil types.

The species seeds freely and is invasive in natural bushland areas so take care where planting.

The bright flowers against the grey foliage make it very attractive.

Pruning after flowering can keep plants in check and promote more flowering the next years. Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos enjoy the pods immensely.

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

Most wattles regenerate from seed after fire with some species exhibiting basal suckering.

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.

podalyriifolia – having leaves like the genus Podalyria – a genus of the pea family (Fabaceae subfam. Faboideae) – endemic to South Africa.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild and is also a known weed in some places.

World Wide Wattle Online – Acacia podalyriifolia profile page

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Acacia podalyriifolia profile page

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.