Acacia ptychoclada

Swamp wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

A shrub growing to 2.5 m high and nearly as wide.

It has a very limited distribution from near Woodford to Mt Victoria, in the Blue Mountains of NSW.

Usually found in damp and swampy sites next to watercourses, on sandstone substrate, in heathland and shrubland.

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.

Phyllodes (modified leaves) are straight to slightly curved, terete (tubular) and linear to 8 cm long and to 0.1 cm wide, with a small mucro.

Flowers are produced in globular heads, to 7 mm diameter, with up to 40 very small staminate flowers per head, bright yellow to pale yellow, to white. Heads are produced in 1s or 2s, in the axils of phyllodes. Flowering occurs January to April.

Seed pods are straight and flat to 6 cm long and to 0.5 mm wide.

In the garden

Currently, information for the cultivation of this wattle is very limited. It may be difficult to grow or may have not as yet been trialled to a substantial degree. It may be cultivated more readily in the future.

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 suckering from basal areas.

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.

ptychoclada – from Greek – ptychi (πτυχή) which means “fold” or “crumpled”, and clada (Gk. kλάδα) meaning “branches” – referring to the acutely-ribbed or folded/crumpled branchlets which may be exhibited in some specimens.

This species is not known to be at risk of extinction in the wild. It does have a very limited natural distribution.

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

Wattle – Acacias of Australia – Acacia ptychoclada profile page  https://apps.lucidcentral.org/wattle/text/entities/acacia_ptychoclada.htm

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.