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No. 157: Acacia prominens,

A. Gunn.

The Prominent Glanded Wattle.


Botanical description.

— Genus, Acacia. (See Part xv, p. 103.)

Botanical description.

— Species, A. prominens A. Cunn.

A. prominens (Cunningh. MMS. Loud. Hort. Brit, 407) Phyllodia divaricate, retrorsely falcate, linear-lanceolate, acute, 1-nerved, ending in a hooked mucrone, with a rather prominent gland on the upper margin at the base; heals of flowers in terminal and axillary racemes. Native of New South Wales. Phyllodia 1 1/2 inch long, and 1 1/2 line broad. (G. Don, Gen. Hist. of Dichlamydeous Plants, ii, 406, 1832.)

The reference in Loudon (1830) is

Evergreen greenhouse shrub 4 feet high. Flowers in February and June; colour of flowers yellow. A native of New Holland, introduced in 1824. Propagated from cuttings, likes sandy loamy and peat soils,

and is not adequate as a description of a species. Its date as a species is therefore 1832.

Under Bot. Mag. t. 3502 (1836) W. J. Hooker quotes Allan Cunningham's original description of Acacia prominens as follows:—

Acacia prominens; glabra, phyllodiis (sesquiuncialibus) lineari-lanceolatis acutis patentibus retrorsofalcatis rectisve uninervibus tenuissime ciliatis, mucrone subuncinato terminatis, margine antico versús basin uniglanduloso, glandulâ leviter elevatâ, racemis terminalibus axillaribusve 6-10-cephalis phyllodio pauló longioribus, capitulis (in racemo) solitariis geminisve pedicello brevioribus, floribus quinquepartitis, petalis ovato-oblongis subacuminatis, stylo staminibus parum longiore.

It is taken from Allan Cunningham's MSS. Journal dated 1817.

Hooker then describes it in the following words:—

A tall, slender shrub, often 10 feet high, of erect growth, numerously branched, the branches being smooth, greenish, and slightly angular.

Phyllodia copious alternate for the most part, 1 1/2 inches in length and 2 1/2 to 3 lines in breadth, spreading, linear-lanceolate, acute, mucronated, mucro rather hooked, towards the apex often retrorse]y falcate, with several slightly-marked veins diverging from the midrib, on the upper edge near the base is a rather prominent gland.

Flowers golden-yellow, very fragrant, formed in axillary and terminal racemes, each raceme having from six to ten heads, generally longer than the phyllodia.

Heads many-flowered, distinct, solitary, or in pairs.

Pedicels patent, very smooth, longer than the heads, having at the bases short, brown bracts.

Calyx very short, five-parted.

Petals five, ovate-oblong, subacute, erect or slightly spreading.

Stamens numerous, shorter than the style.

Stigma simple.

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He then goes on to give the following account of it:—

A charming conservatory shrub, native of New South Wales, where it inhabits barren forestgrounds, in the immediate vicinity of the Nepean River; and although it may, in its native regions, be truly said to be, like Goldsmith's village thorn, "unprofitably gray," no one caring to receive it into his garden, it nevertheless seldom fails, even there, in the month of September, when decked with blossoms, to commend itself to the notice and admiration of the passing, way-worn colonist, not less by the extreme richness and profusion of its golden flowers, than by the delicious fragrance they diffuse around. It has been several years at Kew, where it flowers annually in the months of spring; and our acknowledgments are due to Mr. Aiton for the opportunity now afforded us of publishing a figure of it.

At the end he gives a description of A. fimbriata, A. Cunn., a species which has been confused with A. prominens.

Then Bentham redescribes the species in the follovring words:—

A tall shrub, glabrous and usually glaucous, with angular branchlets.

Phyllodia from linear-lanceolate to oblong-falcate, when narrow nearly those of A. Iinifolia, but not so decidedly ciliate, more acute and the marginal gland further from the base, and passing from that to nearly those of A. Iunata, but always much thinner than the latter, with the pinnate veins as well as the gland more conspicuous, mostly 1 to 1 1/2 inch long, from 2 lines broad in the narrow form to 3, 4, or even 5 in the broad ones.

Racemes about as long as the phyllodia, with very small globular heads of about 8 to 10 or rarely 12 to 15 small flowers, mostly 5-merous.

Calyx very short, broadly lobed.

Petals smooth, or nearly so.

Pod very flat, 2 to 3 inches long when perfect, 3, 4, or rarely 5 lines broad.

Seeds longitudinal along the centre, the last fold of the funicle thickened into a fleshy clavate lateral aril, the other folds very small. (B.Fl. ii, 371.)

Mr. R. T. Baker gives a figure of this species in Proc. linn. Soc. N.S. W., xvi, 572.

He (Op. Cit., p. 573) usefully supplements Bentham's description with the following remarks:—

It is described as "a tall shrub," but it is very often to be seen over 20 feet, and not uncommonly exceeding 30 feet in height, with a diameter in proportion.

The phyllodes often extend to 2 inches, particularly in plants found in the northern districts; about 1 1/2 inch in those in the neighbourhood of Sydney, and 1 inch in southern examples.

The racemes are given by Bentham as "about as long as" the phyllodes, but I find them almost always longer in the living state. They shrink very much in drying.

The pod ("neglected by collectors in the majority of specimens gathered ") can scarcely be said to be "very flat"; it is light warm brown in colour, glabrous and rugose, measuring 1 to 3 inches long and 1/4 to 1 inch broad.

The seeds are at first transverse, but in some cases oblique and longitudinal along, the centre; they appear to change their position prior to falling.

The coloured plate (Bot. Mag., vol. lxiii, No. 3502) in no way assists to identify the species.

I will supplement Mr. Baker's observations by saying that it attains the height of over 70 feet (measured). While agreeing to the extent that Boll Mag. t. 3608 is not a very good representation, the characteristic gland is present. The flowers are usually about twelve in the head.

Botanical Name.

— Acacia, already explained (see Part XV, p. 104); prominens, Latin, prominent, in allusion to the conspicuous marginal gland of the phyllodes.

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Vernacular Names.

— I propose the name "Prominent Glanded Wattle," in spite of myself, for I have only heard it called "Sally," because of its drooping habit, and "Silver Wattle" because of its glaucous foliage, names which have been applied to scores of Wattles with equal appropriateness or the reverse.

Aboriginal Name.

— I know of none.


— This is a species which has given rise to a surprising amount of confusion. It has been more or less confused with at least three species.

(1) Acacia Lunata, F.v.M. non Sieb., "F. Mueller refers it (A. prominens) to A. lunata, describing the pod very accurately; but that is not the fruit of the true A. lunata, which has always the seed lying close to the upper suture, not in the centre of the pod." (Bentham in B.Fl. ii, 371.) Mueller referred some indubitable specimens of A. prominens (A. Cunn.) to A. lunata (Sieb.), and Bentham followed him. These have caused great confusion in herbaria. In Part XLIV I shall figure A. lunata, Sieb., and, I trust, clear up all difficulty in this particular matter.

In Mueller's "Key to the System of Victorian Plants," i (1887-1888) and ii (1885), A. prominens will be found synonymised under A. lunata.

(2.) Acacia fimbriata, A. Cunn. (see B.Fl. ii, 371), has also been confused with A. prominens as a synonym. I trust that the figures and descriptions of A. fimbriata in Part XLII of this work will render confusion impossible in the future.

(3.) A. linifolia, Willd., var. prominens, F.v.M. Herb. In Mueller's "Second Census" (1889) it does not appear, but it was included by Mueller under A. linifolia, Willd., as a variety (e.g., prominens). Bentham also contributed to this view by saying (B.FI. ii, 371): "This species (prominens) may prove to be a broadleaved variety of linifolia." And, again, under A. Iinifolia, he speaks of "The broadleaved forms of this species, with the margins less ciliated (really A. fimbriata, A. Cunn., as I have shown in Part XLII of this work. J.H.M.), or not perceptibly so, connect it with the following, A. prominens."

I trust that the illustrations and notes concerning A. Iinifolia, Willd., given in Part XLlI, will render confusion with A. linifolia impossible in the future.


— Note the prominent glands on the phyllodia.


This is called "Grey" and "Black Wattle" near Sydney, "Silver Wattle" and "Sally" near Gosford, but dealers will not have it, and it hardly pays to cut up and pass with better bark. A sample of a black bark, stained, leopardlike, with whity-green patches, and bearing lichens, yielded the writer 18.03 per cent. of tannic acid and 42.35 per cent. of extract. It was from Penrith, N.S.W.

A sample from Penshurst, Illawarra line, near Sydney, gave the author (Proc. R.S. N.S.W., 1888, p. 269) 39.98 per cent. of extract and 14.42 of tannic acid. Eeight of tree, 10 to 15 feet; diameter, 1 1/2 to 2 inches; collected September, 1887; analysed August, 1868. A light-coloured bark, very thin, of the thickness of stout brown paper, and reminding one strongly of that of A. longifolia.

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A very promising-looking bark obtained from the same locality in February, and analysed the same month, gave 19.75 per cent. of tannic acid and 46.95 per cent. of extract. It is fairly thick, pale in colour, has little fibre, and its low percentage of tannic acid is certainly disappointing. I doubt whether a finer sample of this bark is obtainable; if this surmise is correct, the value of this bark is fixed at under 20 pet cent. of tannic acid.


— Tough and pale-coloured, used far axe-handles in the Gosford district according to Mr. Andrew Hurphy.


— This Wattle is really one of the largest of Australian species, according to a measurement (76 feet) given to me by Mr. Andrew Murphy of a tree felled by him at Narara, near Gosford.


— Bentham (B.Fl. ii, 371) refers this species to New South Wales ("Blue Mountains, Caley, A. Cunningham, and others"), and also doubtfully to South Australia.

Mueller ("Second Census") refers A. linifolia, Willd. (which included, according to his view, A. prominens as a variety), to Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

The properly authenticated range of A. prominens is County of Cumberland, north of the County of Camden, and nearly to Newcastle on the north, i.e., to New South Wales only.

In my "Wattles and Wattle-barks," 3rd edn., p. 80, I have the following note:—

A specimen from trees 15 to 30 feet high, and having a diameter of from 4 to 8 inches, was collected in February, 1890, at Krackenback Mountain, Jindabyne, N.S.W., and analysed January, 1891. It was found to contain 11 per cent. tannic acid and 29.75 per cent. extract. This bark is deceptive in appearance, being smooth, breaking short, with little fibre, and altogether a fair-looking bark.

On the Snowy Mountains it occurs at elevations from 4,000 to 5,000 feet. It is an eastern form found principally in the coast districts.

These Snowy Mountains localities are several hundreds of miles from all other authenticated localities, which may be briefly described as Sydney and Newcastle districts. The Snowy Mountain specimens that I have seen are in immature bud only and are, therefore, doubtful, but they become interesting because perhaps similar specimens have caused A. prominens to be recorded for Victoria.

Furthermore, A. prominens has been recorded from Queensland. Certainly A. fimbriata occurs there, as I have shown in Part XLII, but I am not aware that the true A. prominens occurs in the northern State, and the record should be struck out until it is confirmed.

The record "South Australia?" in the Flora Australiensis should also be struck out. In a word, I do not think we have evidence at present to look upon A. prominens as occurring in any State other than New South Wales.

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New South Wales localities (authenticated by material in the National Herbarium, Sydney) are:—

Mulgoa, on the banks of the Nepean (R. H. Cambage and J.H.M.). The type came from the vicinity of the Nepean River, where it exists to this day, though it is rare in the vicinity of the old Emu crossing of the Nepean, owing to settlement.

Belmore, just south of Sydney. Taken from a tree 2 feet 6 inches in girth. A few years ago there were a number of trees in this locality much larger than the one noted (A. A. Hamilton).

Kogarah and Hurstville, just south of Sydney (J.H. Camfield and E. Betche); Gosford (J.J. Fletcher).

"Sally-Wattle." From tree 76 feet high; timber used for axe-handles; Narara, near Gosford (A. Murphy).


— This is a beautiful species, formerly the glory of the more southern Illawarra Sydney suburbs, but now comparatively rare owing to the progress of settlement. It is well worthy of cultivation.


Plate 161: Prominent Glanded Wattle. (Acacia prominens, A. Cunn.) Lithograph by Margaret Flockton.

  • A. Flowering twig.
  • B. Flower-head.
  • C. Individual bud and bract.
  • D. Flower.
  • E. Bract.
  • F. Flower opened out, showing
    • (a) Calyx.
    • (b) Corolla.
    • (c) Pistil (stamens removed).
  • G. Pods.
  • H. Seed.
  • J. Portion of phyllode with marginal prominent gland, which protrudes outwardly from the margin.