Monday, March 5, 2018

Donkey’s Ears Wattle.

Acacia complanata

In our district, the big wattle-flowering season begins in June, peaks in August, and is all over in September.
A few rebel species don’t flow along with the crowd, however, and this is one of them. Its flowering time can vary, according to rainfall, but it is common for it to choose to flower in February and March.
It has been spectacular this year.
Botanists use a rather boring “common name” (flat-stemmed wattle) for this plant, but I prefer the more descriptive name that ordinary people use -  "Donkey’s Ears". It is such an easy plant to pick from a distance because its “leaves” (actually they’re phyllodes) are held at such an unusual angle. Sometimes they stick out sideways, sometimes they stand up like donkey’s ears. They never droop downwards.

The species is quick growing, and long lived. A well-grown plant can get to 3m high, but it’s more usual to see it at about 1.5 metres and it is very comfortable if kept to that height with occasional pruning.
If it gets a bit old-looking and scraggly it is easily refreshed by pruning it very hard.
It’s a drought hardy plant for full or half sun, and is hardy to frost and drought in our district.
Keep an eye out for local seed in August.

You will find it easy to know that you have identified the plant correctly because of those distinctive phyllodes. Pick it when it’s ripe (which the ones in the photo are not, quite), and give the seeds the boiling water treatment before planting. The seeds grow quickly, and you can have a fine display of flowers when the plant is about a year and a half old.