Acacia viscidula

Sticky Wattle

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae

Acacia viscidula, Sticky Wattle, is an erect shrub reaching a height of 3 metres.

Acacia viscidula is found on the North Coast, Northern Tablelands and North-Western Slopes of NSW and southern Queensland; mostly north from around Nundle, as far west as Mt Kaputar National Park, to areas such as Warwick, Boonah and Canungra in Queensland, with scattered records further north towards Gympie and west towards Quinalow.

It grows in dry sclerophyll woodland, often on granite-derived soils and granite outcrops.

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.

Phyllodes are narrow, linear, and leathery with a small hooked point, to 11 cm long and about 0.3 cm wide. No glands are visible on the phyllodes.

Very small staminate flowers are produced in globular heads, with up to 35 flowers per head, with heads solitary or in clusters of 2 in leaf axils; pale yellow and appearing from September to November.

The pods are straight, sometimes slightly curved.

In the garden

Author’s notes: Sticky Wattle would be a useful addition to an informal hedge or screen. Light pruning, after flowering, would prevent plants becoming straggly. A well-grown, dense Acacia viscidula would provide safe nesting sites for small native birds.

We know the Sticky Wattle from when we lived on our property, Yallaroo, west of Armidale, on the NSW Northern Tablelands.

Once stock was removed from the property, it regenerated in large numbers along with other natives. It was one of seven wattles that occurred naturally on Yallaroo.

It is known to be cultivated with plants and seeds sold online. Give a well-drained soil and plant in full sun for best results.


Propagation is by seed that should be soaked in boiling water before sowing. Cutting propagation should be possible. We never attempted to propagate this species because we already had a plethora of regenerating specimens.

Other information

The type specimen was named in the mid 1800’s from material collected on the banks of the Lachlan River by Charles Fraser.

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.

viscidula Latin meaning “viscid” – referrring to the sticky-resinous nature of the phyllodes.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

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

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

PlantFinder – Acacia viscidula profile page                                     https://resources.austplants.com.au/wp-admin/post.php?post=1595&action=edit

By Warren and Gloria Sheather