Acacia sophorae

Distribution Map
Family: Fabaceae subfamily Mimosoideae
Distribution: Near-coastal forests from south-east Queensland to South Australia, including Tasmania, usually on sand dunes.
Common Name: Coastal wattle.
Derivation of Name: Acacia; from Greek acis, a thorn.
sophorae; derivation uncertain - possibly similar to some species in the genus Sophora.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Acacia sophorae is a prostrate shrub when growing on exposed coastal dunes but may grow as a large shrub to 2-3 metres in height (sometimes taller) in more sheltered locations. Like most members of the genus, the mature plant does not have true leaves but has leaf-like flattened stems called phyllodes. In A.sophorae the phyllodes are oval shaped between 5 and 10 cm long with prominent longitudal veins. The bright yellow flowers occur in the axils of the phyllodes as elongated spikes up to 50 mm long. Flowering is mainly in late winter and spring.

Acacia sophorae
Acacia sophorae
Photo: Brian Walters

Acacia sophorae is regarded by some authorities as a subspecies of Acacia longifolia which is usually a much taller plant with more elongated phyllodes.

A.sophorae is not cultivated as widely as A.longifolia but it is a similarly attractive species which is hardy in a wide range of habitats. The plant is suited to a wide range of soil types provided they are not waterlogged. A position in full sun or light shade is suitable and the species is tolerant of at least moderate frosts.

Both A.sophorae and A.longifolia have become environmental weeds in some areas (eg. western Victoria and South Australia). Care should be exercised in planting these species in areas close to bushland.

Propagation is relatively easy by normal seed raising methods following pretreatment by soaking in boiling water or by scarification. Propagation from cuttings may be successful but is not often used.

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