Acacia aphylla

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General Plant Info

Acacia aphylla, sometimes referred to as "Reindeer Bush" with it foliage similar in appearance to reindeer’s antlers, otherwise known as "Leafless Rock Wattle", "Twisted Desert Wattle" or "Live Wire", is an extraordinary looking Acacia.

The name ‘aphylla’ means without leaves, do to it's absence of phyllodes. It looks bare, and really prickly, but it’s actually quite soft.

It was recorded as rare in 1950 and after 1992 it was listed as vulnerable(Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013), and so protected under the Endangered species Protection Act 1992.

Geographic distribution

Known only from one population in the Darling Ra. E of Perth and also from near Northam, south-western W.A, two areas only 60 km apart. Gazetted a rare species in W.A. Confined to granite outcrops on hillsides, in open eucalypt woodland; sometimes growing from crevices within the granite.

It occurs at two general localities: the Hidden Valley area in the Helena R. valley, several kilometres downstream from Mundaring Weir; and Spencers Brook, S of Northam (Court 1978; Leigh et al. 1984; Brown et al. 1998). It is found in Clackline and Mokine NRs, both containing less than 1000 plants (Briggs & Leigh 1996).



Divaricately branched shrub to 2.3 m high. Branchlets rigid, terete, very obscurely ribbed, smooth, glaucous, pruinose, glabrous, coarsely pungent.

Phyllodes absent.

Inflorescences simple, 1 per axil; peduncles 7–10 mm long, glabrous; heads globular, 20–30-flowered, bright light golden. Flowers 5-merous; sepals free. Flowers from July-Oct

Pods linear, 3–9 cm long, 3–4 mm wide, coriaceous, faintly pruinose, glabrous. Pods mature Dec.-Mar. (Kelly et al 1990) and mature pods have been collected in May and Oct.

Seeds longitudinal, oblong, 4–4.5 mm long, subshiny, black, arillate.

Alkaloid content

Other uses



Acacia aphylla is fast growing to a about 1 meter in height and width, within 1 to 3 years , during which time they are likely to be at their best, visually to us anyway. By this ideal size (for many growers), plants flower readily in exposed situations, after which a light to heavy prune is recommended to keep any desired shape or height, as well as contributing to an extension of the plants life.