Acacia terminalis

Sunshine wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

A variable plant in habit, ranging from a small shrub about 1 metre in height to a large shrub up to about 5 metres tall. Widespread in open forest and woodland from northern New South Wales to Tasmania, mainly on the coast and tablelands, usually on sandy soils or sandstone.

It is a species in one of the 3 wattle groups which retain the fern-like, juvenile bipinnate foliage throughout their lives (never producing the adult phyllodes, typical of many wattles in the other two groups).

The pale cream to bright yellow flowers are produced in globular heads, 7 to 12 mm in diameter (each head or globe have up to 13 flowers), with the heads then grouped into conspicuous racemes or panicles which can be about 20 cm long all up; in autumn to mid-spring, depending on locality.

Seed pods are flat, straight or curved, rough and often darker over seeds, 3.5 to 10 cm long and to 2 cm wide.


In the garden

An attractive garden plant that grows quickly and flowers within one or two years from seed. It is reliable in a range of soils but is reported to be short lived due to attack by borers.

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

A. terminalis was previously known as A. botrycephala.

Four subspecies have been recognised, although there are additional hybrids, especially around Sydney:
A. terminalis subsp. angustifolia (now referred to as subsp. Glabrous Form)
A. terminalis subsp. aurea (now referred to as subsp. Bright Yellow Flowers)
A. terminalis subsp. longiaxialis (now referred to as subsp. Long Inflorescences)
A. terminalis subsp. terminalis: (now referred to as subsp. Eastern Sydney), is listed as an Endangered Species under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

It is rare and confined to the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, between Cronulla and Manly.

Note: the currently referred to names for the subspecies indicate that formal names are yet to be published in a scientific journal.

The three other subspecies are not considered to be at risk in the wild.

Regeneration from seed after fire has been observed.

Acacia from Greek acis, a thorn.
terminalis from Latin terminalis, at the end of or terminal, possibly referring to the position of the flower clusters on the branches.


By Jeff Howes