Acacia schinoides

Green Cedar Wattle, Frosty Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia schinoides is an erect tree or shrub 10 m high and 7 m wide.

It is restricted to coastal central NSW, including the north-western Cumberland Plain, Hornsby Plateau and the Hunter River Valley (Lane Cove to Maitland) growing in deep shady gullies usually near creeks. It has naturalised into coastal Victoria. Members John Arney and Dan Clarke have also observed it growing in the vegetation of Kamay National Park, Kurnell (near Cook’s and Banks’ landing place), where it is assumed to be non-natural.

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 3.

Leaves are bipinnate to about 20 cm long, to 15 cm wide with new leaves a bronze colour. Leaflets are up to 25 mm long to 5 mm wide.

Being a bipinnate wattle, it produces flowers in globular heads, to 10 mm in diameter. Each head can have up to 50 very small flowers. The heads are arranged in axillary panicles or racemes and a pale yellow colour, creating a showy display, mainly from November to February

Seed pods are straight, flat to 16 cm long and to about 1.5 cm wide.

In the garden

It is a fast-growing tree in well-composted soil. It accepts full sun to heavy shade. It can likely grow on any well-drained soil.

It has also been introduced into Kenya and Zimbabwe and it is cultivated there.

It may become weedy in any local habitat so consider carefully if your garden adjoins bushland.

It is an attractive wattle with jacaranda-like foliage. It can grow large.

Acacias can suffer from a number of pests, including borers, scale, galls and leaf miners. Growing plants suitable to your local environment minimises these pests 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 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.

schinoides – Latin – refers to the likeness of the compound foliage to that of the pepper tree (genus Schinus).

This species is not known to be at risk of extinction in the wild, although its range is limited.

Australian National Herbarium – Acacia schinoides profile page          http://www.anbg.gov.au/acacia/species/A-schinoides.html

Wattle – Acacias of Australia – Acacia schinoides fact sheet https://apps.lucidcentral.org/wattle/text/entities/acacia_schinoides.htm

NSW Flora Onlione (PlantNET)                                                           https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Acacia~schinoides

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.