Acacia saliciformis

Willow wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

A large shrub growing to 7 metres tall

It is found in parts of NSW, at the approximate junction of the central coast/tablelands and northcoast subdivisions; from Bilpin in the south to around Bulga in the north, and possibly also growing further south in the Budawang Ranges.

It grows in wet and dry sclerophyll forest, in gravelly, sandy and clay loam soils.

Acacia saliciformis has pendulous young branchlets with reddish coloured new growth.

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 to Group 1.

The phyllodes (resembling leaves) are thin grey-green with a lanceolate shape, to 12 cm long and to 1.5 cm wide.

Flowers are produced in globular heads, containing up to 45 very small staminate, pale yellow to creamy white flowers. The heads are arranged in axillary racemes to about 10 cm long. Flowering occurs between April and September.

The pods have a broadly linear to narrowly oblong shape, up to 12 cm long to about 2 cm wide, dark brown to black.

In the garden

This plant is an attractive small tree with smooth, greyish bark and a weeping habit. It has red-new growth in spring. It is sold commercially on one website at least. It can likely tolerate a range of soils from sandy to clay loam. May need aqdequate drainage to thrive.

It is a willow-type / laurel-type wattle with broader foliage, and so may add attraction to gardens.

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

It is related to Acacia mabellae which usually has yellow-hairy peduncles.

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.

saliciformis – Latin referring to Salix – the willow genus – for its willow-like habit (form).

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild. Although its range is limited.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Acacia saliciformis profile page


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