Acacia aculeatissima

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General Plant Info

Acacia aculeatissima refers to the prickly phyllodes, however is more commonly known as the "Snake Wattle" or "Thin-Leaf Wattle". As the name suggests, it is a low sprawling shrub, rarely growing above 50-60cm high, yet sprawling out wiry, prickly branches for 1m or more.

It is native to Australia, mainly found in VIC but also found in small populations in other states such as NSW, QLD and WA.

It is fast growing with an average lifespan around 20 years, having dark green foliage with deep golden-yellow, globular flowers. It flowers from August to October. The pods are straight, cylindrical

Often grows in rocky areas, in Eucalyptus woodland or forest or closed heath.

Acacia aculeatissima may be confused with Acacia brownii which has 5-merous flowers and spreading rather than mostly reflexed phyllodes.

Geographic distribution

Occurs in south-eastern Australia from the lower Grampians, Vic., to near Eden, N.S.W. Sometimes locally abundant.

Plants with either hairy or glabrous phyllodes occur in the Grampians, Vic.; hairy phyllode variants are rare elsewhere.



Diffuse shrub, prostrate to 0.3–1 m high, rarely taller than 50-60 cm. Branchlets slender, finely ribbed, variably hairy, rarely glabrous. Stipules c. 1 mm long.

Phyllodes Phyllodes mostly patent to reflexed, slender, terete to subterete, quadrangular when dry, 5–12 (- 20) mm long, 0.5–1 mm wide, pungent with a slender, c. 1 mm long cusp, rigid, obscurely 4-nerved, variably muriculate on nerves, usually glabrous; pulvinus asymmetric.

Inflorescences Inflorescences simple, 1–3 per axil; peduncles 5–13 mm long, slender, glabrous; basal bract c. 1 mm long; heads globular, sometimes obloid, c. 20-flowered, lemon yellow. Flowers 4-merous; sepals dissected to near base.

Pods Pods straight to slightly curved, ± flat but slightly raised over seeds, ± straight-sided or variably constricted between some seeds, 3–6 cm long, 2–4 mm wide, firmly papery to thinly leathery, smooth, glabrous or with sparse minute hairs;

'Seeds Seeds longitudinal, oblong, 3.5–4 mm long; aril terminal.

Alkaloid content

Other uses

Snake Wattle is an attractive groundcover plant suitable for rockeries and embankments.

These small prickly bushes are a fantastic refuge for small wildlife particularly when they grow in more open areas and on better soil where they form a small compact bush. Because they grow at ground level they can be a lifesaver for reptiles and small marsupials and a safe food source for small ground feeding birds.

Food plant for Common Imperial Blue butterflies

Adds nitrogen to the soil and can be used to stabilise poor sites.



Acacia aculeatissima grows in full sun to part shaded areas in most well drained soils including coastal. It grows more sprawling when growing under trees and forms a compact small bush when growing in the open.

It requires very little maintenance beside an annual prune and can withstand extended periods of dryness once established.

Occasionally feeding with a slow release low phosphorus fertiliser, will be of benefit. Mulching around the base will help conserve moisture.