Sunday, July 13, 2008

Acacia or Wattle plants

One of my favourite winter flowering plants is the Acacia or Wattle.The above photo is of Acacia macradenia or Zig-Zag Wattle With its symbolic meaning of friendship, it is wonderful to see the inclusion of the wattle flower in the recently unveiled painting Our Lady of the Southern Cross at St Mary's Cathedral in central Sydney to celebrate World Youth Day 08. The flower colour is also the "Gold" of the Wallabies Rugby jersey and who can forget their recent thrashing of the French on home soil. Here are a few of my favourite Acacias for the home garden:Acacia macradenia or Zig-Zag Wattle. This has curious zigzaging stems from which hang long pendulous racemes of flowers. The new foliage is bronze and glows in the sunshine.
Acacia podalyrifolia ,Mt Morgan Wattle.This has great silvery blue foliage and is long flowering but can end up looking a bit tragic when it has succumbed to sooty mould or borers. Fortunately it self seeds and new plants appear around the original over time.

Acacia podalyrifolia
Acacia melanoxylon ,Blackwood .I planted one of these at the Nursery about ten years ago and it now a tall tree with attractive grey bark and olive green foliage. A great furniture and cabinet making timber tree.
Acacia glaucoptera Flat Wattle.I love this as a plant curiosity for the stems and leaves are as one with the flowers emerging along the trunk like hat pins.
Acacia suaveolens Sweet scented wattle. I don't have this in the garden but it is a favourite to find on coastal bush walks , not only for the sweet perfumed flowers but later on for the flat and fat oblong seed pods which have a ghostly bloom. In the bush I also like Acacia ulicifolia or Prickly Moses.The flowers are a delightful cream colour but the foliage is quite thorny. It has garden potential for creating a predator free bird nesting site when combined with say Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite'.

Acacia suaveolens : seed pods
One last (thorny) one to mention is Acacia farnesiana.This is one is a bit controversial as it is regarded as a native plant in New South Wales and a terrible weed in Queensland where it prevents cattle from getting to water along stock routes.It is named from the Farnese Gardens in Rome (in 1611) and is the "Mimosa" of the French perfume industry. The oil distilled from the flowers has the odour of violets.

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