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  ― 182 ―

No. 184: Acacia amœna,



Botanical description.

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

Botanical description.

— Species, A. amœna, Wendland; Commentatio de Acaciis Aphyllis, Hannoveræ (1820).

The following is the original description:—

A. inermis, capitulis racemosis multifloris; petiolis, oblongis, basi valde attenuatis, margine antico glandulis pluribus. calyce quinquefido; germine tomentoso.

Habitat in Novâ Hollandiâ.

Frutex glaber, sexpedalis, cortice fuseo; ramis teretibus, erecto-patentibus, nunc laevibus, nunc verrucosis, superne angulatis, striatis, viridibus.

Petioli alterni, remotiusculi, patentes, oblongo-lanceolati, oblongi vel obovato-oblongi, subfaleati, basi valde attenuati, apice acuti, breviter obtuse mucronati, uninervii, subvenosi, marginati, margine saepe subundulato, antico glandulis binis vel ternis dentiformibus remotis instructo, bi-tripollicares et longiores, 3-6 lineas lati. Stipulæ nullæ.

Flores capitati, lutei, bracteolis spathulatis breviter ciliatis interstincti. Capitula numerosa in racemos axillares, solitarios, petiolo triplo breviores collecta, multiflora semine Viciæ paulo minora insidentia pedicellis duplo longioribus, basi, sicut pedunculus communis, bractea ovata, obtusa, minima in structis.

Calyx brevissimus, monophyllus, quinquefidus, laciniis subcuneiformibus, leviter pubescentibus. Corolla pentapetala; petalis lanceolatis, acutis, glabris.

Stamina numerosa, corolla longiora.

Germen oblongum, albo-tomentosum. Stylus staminibus paulo longior, lateralis in germinis summitate.

Legumen .........(v.v.)

Fortunately this description was accompanied by a fairly good drawing (Tab. IV, reproduced in Plate 188), which, however, represents the plant in flower and not in fruit. I have not been able to see the type specimen; I do not even know whether it was preserved.

Then we have the brief description of the Prodromus, in which De Candolle, who quotes and compares Sieber's specimens wherever he can, surmises that it may be Sieber's No. 452. Bentham (B.Fl. ii, 366) says that the surmise is correct; in other words, that the A. amœna of Sieber (not of Wendland) is A. rubida A. Cunn. The Prodromus description follows.

A. amœna (Wendl., Diss. n. 8. t.4) phyllodiis oblongis basi valde attenuatis uninerviis margine antico glandulis 1-3, capitulis racemosis, floribus 5-fidis. Hab. Nova Hollandia. Ad sequentem valde accedit sed racemi phyllodiis dimidio breviores. Petala 5 distincta et ovarium tomentosum-Planta. Sieb. pl. exs. nov. holl. n. 452 (A. rubida, A. Cunn. J.H.M.) a Wendlandiana differe videtur phyllodiis vix marginatis antice 1-glandulosis. An eadem? (v.s.) (DC. Prod. 2 (1825), p. 452.)

  ― 183 ―
Then we have Don, whose description is, as usual, based upon the Prodromus account.

A. amoœna (Wendl. Diss. no. 8. t. 4.) phyllodia oblong, tapering much at the base, l-nerved, bearing 1-3 glands in front on the upper margin; heads of flowers racemose; flowers 5-cleft. Native of New Holland. Very like the following species (A. myrtifolia), but differs in the racemes being one-half shorter than the phyllodia. Petals 5, distinct. Ovary tomentose. The plant under this name in Sieb. pl. exsice. nov. holl. No. 452 differs from Wendland's in the phyllodia being scarcely margined, and only furnished with one gland in front on the upper margin, although perhaps the same.

Pleasing Acacia. Fl. April, June. Clt. 1820. Shrub, 4 to 6 feet. (Don's Gen. Mist. Dichlamydeous Plants, Vol. 2, p. 405.)

Here is Bentham's description, and it will be observed that he attributes specimens collected on the Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers by Fraser and Cunningham (presumably on Oxley's Expedition of 1817) to this species. These are comparatively dry country localities, whereas the others recorded for A. amœna are coastal mountain regions; the plants should be further examined. It will also be observed that these specimens are "ovario glabriuseulo."

A. amœna (Wendl., Diss. 16. t. 4), glabra, ramulis angulatis, phyllodiis oblique lanceolatis rectiusculis uncinato-mucronatis basi longe angustatis marginatis plerisque 2-3 glanduliferis nitidis uninerviis venis tenuibus, racemis phyllodio subbrevioribus, capitulis parvis 8-12-floris glabris, ovario glabriusculo. Phllodia 1 1/2 — 2 1/2 pollicaria, glandulis saepissime 2, a basi et inter sese distantibus. Near the Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers, Fraser, Cunningham. (Bentham, in Hooker's London Journal of Botany, Vol. 1, 356.)

Then Bentham describes it in the following words:—

A tall shrub, quite glabrous, young branches pubescent.

Phyllodia obliquely lanceolate or oblanceolate, straight or falcate, obtuse, or with a small recurved point, much narrowed towards the base, not very thick, 1-nerved, with nerve-like margins, and wore or less distinctly veined, with 1, 2, or 3 often prominent distant marginal glands, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long on the flowering shoots, longer on the barren branches.

Racemes usually shorter thon the phyllodia, with several small globular heads of about 8 to 12 flowers, mostly 5-merous.

Sepals short, broad, usually separating when the flower is fully out.

Petals 5, distinct, smooth, with prominent midribs.

Pod flat, straight or curved, with nerve-like margins, several inches long, 3 to 4 lines, broad, not contracted between the seeds.

Seeds ovate, longitudinal; funicle dilated and reticulate from near the base, very long, extending round the seed, returning on the same side and bent back a third time, encircling the seed in a triple-fold, and thickened at the end into a fleshy aril, two-thirds the length of the seed. (B.Fl. ii, 366).

Bentham adds, —

The funicle completely encircling the seed a third time does not occur in any other species which I have been able to observe, and is in all the seeds I have examined of A. amœna; it remains, however, to be. ascertained whether it is really so constant a character as it appears to be. (B.Fl. ii, 367).

Bentham's description, as far as the pods and seeds are concerned, applies both to A. rubida and to A. amœna.

The first part of the description applies to Wendland's plant, and could have been compiled largely from Wendland's figure. Bentham had not (to his knowledge) seen the pods of A. rubida.

Botanical Name.

— Acacia, already explained. (See Part XV, p. 104); amœna, Latin, signifying "delightful to the eye," in one word, "pretty."

  ― 184 ―

Habitat, and some Botanical Notes.

— It is confined to the southern and eastern half of New South Wales and to north-eastern Victoria, so far as we know at present.

Turning to the localities given by Bentham (B.Fl. ii, 366) for A. amœna, I am of opinion that the Blue Mountains locality is probably that of A. rubida, where it is very common, while A. amœna has not been found on the Blue Mountains yet.

The Illawarra as a locality is somewhat vague; A. rubida certainly occurs there, while A. amœna may.

I have already stated my doubts as to the Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers as localities for A. amœna.

As regards the Victorian locality, Macalister River (Mueller), I have seen the specimen, which is in pod only, and believe it to be A. rubida.

I have been on the quest for A. amœna for many years, but failed to get specimens sufficiently near to Wendland's figure until Mr. Cambage sent me his Burragorang specimens in August, 1905. A specimen is figured in Plate 188, and comparison with Wendland's figure (Tab. IV) leaves no doubt in my mind that we have got Wendland's plant.

The Burragorang locality, or country similar to it nearer Sydney, was visited by botanists and collectors in ample time before the publication of Wendland's work (1820).

Then came the search for the pods. It was not convenient for Mr. Cambage to re-visit the locality again in pod-time until December, 1911, and his specimens enable me now to figure and describe the pods for the first time.

The phyllodes are scimitar-shaped, with (as regards Wendland's figure) usually two especially prominent glands.

The sepals are nearly half the length of the petals, bluntly-pointed spathulate, the upper portion and the angle (sometimes the angle is not very evident) densely covered with short hairs; the sepals usually separating when the flower is fully out. The ovarium is densely pubescent.

The pods of A. amœna are about 5–6 cm. long and 1 cm. broad, constricted between the seeds, the valves shiny, the seeds longitudinally disposed, the funicle imperfectly and interruptedly encircling the seed two or three times and terminatin in a club-shaped aril under the seed.

Mueller's description of A. amœna, Wendl., is in the following words:—

Flowers rather few in each headlet. Shrubby; phyllodia narrow or elongate-lanceolar, slightly curved, provided at the upper edge and distant from the base with one or two, or rarely three, prominent glandules; flower-heads small, in short racemes; fruit elliptic, or broad linear, flat; valves thin; seeds almost completely surrounded in a double line by the dark-brown funicle. (Key system Vict. Plants, i, 191.)

  ― 185 ―
I have already discussed the localities given by Bentham in B. Fl ii, 366, for A. amœna.

I believe the species to be confined to southern New South Wales and northern Victoria so far as we know at present, but it requires to be carefully sought for in order that additional localities may be recorded.

A. amœna is recorded by Bailey from the Glasshouse Mountains, Queensland, in his Queensland Flora, p. 489, but I am of opinion that the record should be expunged. Indeed, I think it extremely unlikely that the species extends as far north as Queensland.

I have it from the following localities:—

On high banks of the Wollondilly River, Upper Burragorang (No. 1258, flowers; No. 3095, fruits. R. H. Cambage). Also on the Kowmung.

Bowral to Bullio, flowers only. (R. H. Cambage and J.H.M.)

The following specimens are most probably A. amœna. I speak diffidently, because the material is incomplete.

Snowy River, Victorian side (Mueller, 1854). Phyllodes only.

Tombong, N.S.W., banks of the Snowy River. Phyllodes and young flower buds. The phyllodes, though a shade smaller, are remarkably like those of Wendland's figure.

Buffalo Mountain, Victoria (C. Walter.) In flower. The phyllodes are longer than those of the Snowy River specimens. Buffalo Mountain, so far, is the only locality from which I have obtained both A. rubida and A. amœna.

The Affinity of Acacia ribida (A. Cunn.) and Acacia amœna (Wendl.)

The closest affinity of A. amœna (Wendl.), is with A. rubida (A. Cunn.). Bentham's surmise that A. rubida may be a variety of A. amœna is, like so many of his guesses when he has imperfect material, very shrewd. The two species are closely related, but I do not think they are conspecific, in view of the following evidence, which I do not think a more ample acquaintance with A. amœna will successfully overturn.

(a) Bipinnate foliage is commonly seen in A. rubida, and not in A. amœna.

(b) There is absence of reddish or reddish-brown foliage (foliage and phyllodes) as in A. rubida, or it is very rare.

(c) The phyllodes of A. rubida are usually longer and larger, while the glands are fewer and less prominent than in A. amœna.

(d) The ovarium is smooth in A. rubida, and densely tomentose in A. amœna.

(e) The valves of the pod are narrower and more constricted between the seeds in A. amœna, not rather flat as in A. rubida; rather shiny in A. amœna and often glaucous in A. rubida.

Mr. R.H. Cambage, speaking of A. amœna on the Wollondilly River, says:—

The shrubs of A. amœna were rather smaller than those of A. rubida, but otherwise somewhat similar.

I did not notice any reddish-brown cast.

No pinnate leaves were seen at all, and I do not think they would have escaped me if present.

  ― 186 ―


Plate 188: A Wattle. (Acacia amoena, Wendl.) Lithograph by Margaret Flockton.

  • A. Figure of type, being a facsimile of a plate in "Commentatio de Acaciis Aphyllis. H. L. Wendland. Hannoveræ, 1820.
  • B. Twig from Wollondilly River, Burragorang, New South Wales. (R. H. Cambage, No. 1258.)
  • C. Flower-head.
  • D. Individual bud.
  • E. Flower.
  • F. Flower opened out, stamens removed, showing —
    • (a) calyx,
    • (b) corolla,
    • (c) pistil.
  • G. Pod and seeds from Wollondilly River. (R.H. Cambage, No. 3196.)
  • H. and I. Seeds.


Plate 189: A. Grevillea Hilliana, F.v.M. (leaf): B. Endiandra Pubens, Meissn. (fruit); C and D. Endiandra Globosa, Maiden and Betche (fruit and endocarp.) Lithograph by Margaret Flockton.

This contains figures of three genera of plants, viz., Grevillea, Endiandra, Acacia.

A. Pinnatifid leaf of Grevillea, Hilliana, bearing a label in Leichhardt's handwriting, from Din- nangurumbin? B. B. (? Blackbutt) brush, Sept. 18 th, '43. The specimen was named Grevillea, Hilliana by Mueller, in his handwriting, To be compared with Plate 159, Part 43.

B. Fruit of Endiandra pubens from Casino, New South Wales. The original is bright scarlet in colour, with yellow flesh. Compare with Plate 146, Part 38, where an unripe fruit is depicted.

C. Fruit of Endiandra globosa, Maiden and Betche, from Mullumbimby, New South Wales. The original is shiny black, flesh yellow.

D. Endocarp of E. glubosa, showing striate lines. Compare with Plate 138, Part 36, where an unripe fruit is depicted.

E. and F. "Yarran" (Acacia homalophylla) pod and seed. Compare Part XXXV, Plate 133, figures G, H, K. Figure G is correct. Figures H and K are incorrect, the arillus being very different. E, the pod, and F, the seed (with arillus) of the present plate, are intended to replace the incorrect figures of Plate 133.

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