Plant of the Month – January 2016


(Acacia paradoxa)


Prickly, prickly, prickly! You’ll know if you walk near one of these on a bushwalk, or try to push through, because the thorny little spines on the stems will grab at you!! These grow at the base of the phyllodes (or false leaves). But these thorns also mean the shrub provides great protection for little birds such as wrens and finches, and other creatures hiding from prey. A bushy, spreading shrub up to 3 m high and wide, it is native to large parts of SA, where it often occurs in thickets. It makes great, almost impassable hedges, and in fact is sometimes known as the ‘hedge wattle’. Resistant to salt spray as well as livestock, it does well on the peninsula. The phyllodes are dark green, quite crinkly, and hairy when new. Small balls of richly coloured yellow flowers appear in winter-spring, making up somewhat for its inhospitability to walkers!