Thursday, August 13, 2009

Oleander-leafed Wattle

Acacia neriifolia
A rather imaginative person once thought that the narrow phyllodes of this plant resembled oleander leaves.
Be that as it may, it is one of the better garden wattles, being both quick growing and long-lived, and having a spectacular display of golden flowers in August. Each year, they make a magnificent show on the road between Toowoomba and Crows Nest.

In the bush we see this as a smallish tree, with most of its flowers high out of reach.

However, it responds well to pruning, so can be kept as a shrub. Pruning, of course, increases its bushiness making it a good screen and Oleander-substitute.
Unlike oleanders, this is a plant which fits the environment, hosting all sorts of native insects including some lovely little butterflies, and attracting birds which appreciate the insect supply.
This is a wattle for well-drained soil, such as the snuffy red-soils along the top of the range, and the nearby sandstone soils.
It is frost-hardy, and thrives through the worst of our droughts with no supplementary watering.

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