Acacia pubescens

Downy wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia pubescens is a spreading to slightly weeping shrub 2–5 m high with smooth bark.

The species chiefly occurs in open woodland on alluvial gravel soils, often with ironstone, around the Bankstown-Fairfield-Rookwood area and the Pitt Town area in Sydney. It can also occur at Barden Ridge, Oakdale and Mountain Lagoon to the west, extending to Nowra and Aylmerton to the south, south-west.

Acacia pubescens is threatened by the loss of much of its habitat through urbanisation in the Sydney region. Hence, it is listed as threatened at the Commonwealth and State level.

It is has grey-blue-green bipinnate leaves to about 7 cm long, with very small leaflets (pinnules). Leaflets are also crowded.

Flowers are produced in globular heads with up to 16 flowers per globe. The heads are then grouped into panicles with up to 50 globes per panicle; deep yellow and occurring in late winter to mid-spring (August to October)

The plant does not appear to set much seed and any pods to be found are straight to 8 cm long and 6.5 mm wide.

In the garden

It is an attractive garden plant and grows quickly. Seed is rarely available but it can be propagated by cuttings or by division and transplanting of suckers.

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. It can also be propagated from cuttings.

Other information

Hybrids with Cootamundra wattle (Acacia baileyana) and West Wyalong wattle (A. cardiophylla) have been reported.

Fire response unknown. It can possibly regenerate from suckers as transplanted root fragments are known to grow. It likely regenerates from seed.

Acacia – from Greek acis, a thorn.
pubescens – covered with short, soft hairs; referring to the foliage which is downy.

Threatened species: NSW BCA: Vulnerable; Commonwealth EPBC: Vulnerable.

By Jeff Howes