Acacia siculiformis

Dagger Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia siculiformis is known as the Dagger Wattle and is an upright shrub reaching a height of 2 metres with a spreead to about 2 metres.

It has a naturally wide distribution. In NSW the species is found in disjunct patches on the northern and southern tablelands, between Glen Innes and Walcha, and between Captains Flat and Gundagai. It extends into the north-eastern highlands of Victoria and Tasmania.

It is listed as threatened with extinction in Tasmania.

It is found in dry sclerophyll woodlands and forests, often on granite-based soils.

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 common name is apt as the phyllodes are dagger-shaped and come equipped with a sharp point. They are about 30 millimetres long by 2 millimetres wide, rigid with a small gland near the centre of phyllode.

Globular flower heads, consisting of very small staminate flowers, are produced singularly in the axil of each phyllode, with up to 7 mm diametre and up to 45 flowers per head. Blooms are mid-yellow and appear in spring and early summer.

The pod is straight, to 5 cm long and about 0.8 cm wide, hairless and resinous.

In the garden

Acacia siculiformis is a handsome if somewhat prickly shrub and perhaps should not be planted beside paths. Our specimens are surviving on our dry, well-drained hill (in a cool-climate garden near Armidale).

This species is not cultivated commonly but it is known to be cultivated. It may be suitable for rocky sloping gardens. Check with local native nurseries for availability. It tends to grow in granite soils naturally so may need this condition to thrive. It is reported to be hardy once established.

The plant appears to be beneficial to bird habitat.


Propagate from pre-treated seed (boling water or scarification), or possibly from cuttings.

Other information

The type specimen appears to have been collected at Rocky Hill near Lake George, ACT in 1842 by Alan Cunningham.

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.

siliculiformis – Latin – sicula meaning “little dagger” and –formis meaning “form” – referring to the dagger-like phyllodes of the species.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild in mainland states. It is threatened with extinction in Tasmania with the category of Rare.

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

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

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 Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.