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Acacia orites (Family Fabaceae)

Mountain Sallow Wattle, Mountain Wattle


This acacia has a very restricted distribution along the New South Wales/Queensland border between latitudes 28-29o S. The main altitudinal occurrence is 400-900 m and the range 250-1200 m. (QLD, NSW)


A fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing tree up to 30 m tall. It has a straight, cylindrical trunk with a maximum diameter of 75 cm. Mature phyllodes are bright green, smooth, straight or slightly curved, 8-20 cm long and 3-8 mm wide. The creamy to pale lemon yellow, fragrant flowers are arranged loosely in a cylindrical spike 2-7 cm long. The pod is straight, 6-11 cm long and 3-4 mm wide. Flowering time is August - September and seeds are mature 3-4 months later. There are about 85 000 viable seeds per kilogram and pre-treatment with boiling water for one minute promotes germination.

Ecology/Way of Life:

It occurs in the warm, humid zone. Frosts are absent near the coast but light frosts are common in high altitude, inland locations. Mean annual rainfall is about 1500-2500 mm with a well-developed summer maximum. It grows on slopes and ridges on free-draining relatively infertile, acidic soils derived from the volcanic rocks, rhyolite and trachyte. It is a component of tall open-forest with dominant associated species including Eucalyptus campanulata, E. microcorys, E. pilularis and E. saligna. It is often found on the margins of warm temperate rainforest and in regeneration where there has been a major disturbance of the forest cover.

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

The heartwood is brown, medium hard, easily worked and provides a high quality furniture timber. The mass display of fragrant flower contributes to the ornamental appeal of this species. Its light canopy and erect habit suggest it would be suitable as a tree component in agroforestry systems.

Other Comments:

Acacia orites was named by the Queensland botanist, Les Pedley, in 1964. The name comes from the Greek akakia = a thorny plant, specifically Acacia arabica; and orites = a mountaineer, referring to the occurrence of this species on high ranges.

Further Reading: >

Doran, J.C. and Turnbull, J.W. (eds.) 1997. Australian trees and shrubs; species for land rehabilitation and farm planting in the tropics. ACIAR Monograph no. 24. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra. 384p.

Floyd, A.G. 1989. Rainforest trees of mainland southeastern Australia. Inkata Press, Melbourne. 420p.

Pedley, L. 1964. Notes on Acacia, chiefly from Queensland, II. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 75 (4): 29-35.

Topics: Agroforestry Climatic zones Soils Timber Aboriginal resources Ornamental Nitrogen-fixation Vegetation types Firewood Germination


Text & map from Australian Trees and Shrubs, courtesy Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; text edited by J. Turnbull; photo courtesy J. Lamour.

Sponsored by:

John Lamour/ACIAR


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