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Tropicals, Woody > Acacia > Acacia retinoides > Acacia retinoides

Acacia retinoides

Swamp Wattle

Origin:  Native to southern Australia and Tasmania.
            Mike's Opinion

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Acacia retinodes is native to Australia and does not have thorns; non-Australian species do. It is a very showy shrub that is covered year round with golden yellow flowers. This species has a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria that forms nodules on the roots. Even though this shrub is drought tolerant, salt and wind resistant, it is most likely to be killed in excessively harsh winters.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tropicals, Woody
Shrub (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
9 - 11
Canadian Hardiness Zone
Requires cool season protection under glass.
RHS Hardiness Zone
H4 - H1c
Temperature (°C)
(-4) - 10
Temperature (°F)
25 - 50
6-10 m
5 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
Branches are sometimes pendulous, angled or flattened and glabrous. The phyllodes can be grey-green to glabrous with white bloom in colour. They are acicular, straight to thinly curved, sometimes with a hook at the tip.
Best used in a mixed shrub border, screen or windbreak.
Can tolerate a wide range of soil types however it prefers soils that have a pH of 5-7 in full sun. Drought tolerant, salt and wind resistant but is likely to be killed in excessively harsh winters. It will not grow in the shade.
An obconic or rounded tree with a spreading crown. spreads.
ID Characteristic
The leaves are acicular, thin and smooth. They can be green or glabrous with obscure veins and glands. The flowers are light gold to cream colour with globular heads on short racemes.
Can suffer from glasshouse red spider mite and mealy bugs but is generally pest free.
Open forests in poorly drained soils, inland from the coast in Australia.
Bark/Stem Description
The green stems are smooth and thin.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Flower buds are 2-4-headed golden yellow globular clusters, 4-8 mm wide. Small flowers develop along a waxy, stout, hairless, curved axis approximately 25-90 mm long. Each cluster is on a 2-10 mm stalk. The prominent bracts are sub-circular and brown to black in colour with white fringes.
Leaf Description
Phyllodes are acicular in shape, straight to thinly curved and smooth, approximately 10 cm long by 1-2 cm wide. Grey-green in colour, and sometimes have a hook at the tip. Veins are pinnate from a prominent midrib, 3-22 cm long and 3-15 mm wide.
Flower Description
The flowers are perfect. Globular heads have 18-50 small, golden yellow flowers, cream in colour, 3-5 mm in diameter. The heads grow on short axillary racemes are very fragrant and smell like almonds.
Fruit Description
Fruit is oblong shaped, 18 cm long and 5-7 mm wide. A dull to slightly shiny, dark brown or black colour which turn red in autumn. The seeds are attached to the pod longitudinally by a long coloured double-folded funicle.
Colour Description
Golden yellow or cream flowers, cream or grey phyllodes. Pods are dull to slightly shiny, dark brown or black turning red in autumn.
Texture Description
Smooth textured plant.
Notable Specimens
The Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, Ontario, Canada.
Easily propagated by seed placed in boiling water for 12-24 hours, (allowing the water to cool during this period) and then sown before the seeds dry out. The boiling water softens the seed coat and allows quick germination which can vary from 1-4 weeks. Seed may be sown at any time of year although spring sowing seed seems to yield slightly more significant results. Once seedlings have produced their true leaves they may be pricked off into pots and transplanted according to growth rate. Cuttings may also work using half-ripened lateral shoots placed in a mix of equal parts sand and peat/compost and placed in a heated greenhouse under moist shade; cuttings are slow to root. Graft onto A. retinoides seed raised stock that is 18-24 months old and about 30 cm in height. Once the graft has taken remove the top growth from the understock the following spring.
Ethnobotanical Uses (Disclaimer)
Its fruit, seeds and leaves are used for dyes and for tannins.
Flora of Australia Volume 11A: Mimosaceae Acacia part 1. Melbourne ABRS/CSIRO Publishing: 281-282 2001. Googlebooks,Web.18 Jan. 2013..