Plant of the Month – October 2018


(Acacia pycnantha)

(Photos: E. Cousins, shrub, leaf, flower; Cape Jervis)

September 1 is Wattle Day, and the photos above illustrate why we celebrate it. That colour jumps out at you and just has to brighten your day!  And it is no wonder this particular wattle was chosen as the National Floral Emblem of Australia in 1998. ‘Pycnantha’ basically translates to “thick, dense, compact flowers”. Hard to know if the ‘thick’ and ‘dense’ refer to a single flower ball, or the profusion you can see in the clusters above, isn’t it? The tree itself is not large, at up to about 8m. Its trunk can be dark, almost black, in southern SA. The leaves are long and thin, curved with a dominant central vein. Flowers present as balls of bright yellow over winter-spring. Later, seed pods will form. These are quite long and narrow (about 12cm by 5mm), brown and straight. It can take 5-6 months for these pods to mature and release their black seeds.