Undoolya Wattle or Sickle-leaf Wattle (Acacia undoolyana)
A Desert Ranges Wattle in Trouble
Wattles are one of the most successful plant groups in Australia, with over 900 species found the length and breadth of the continent. One of the rare ones is Acacia undoolyana, commonly known as Undoolya Wattle. This small tree or shrub has sickle shaped leaves, a distinctive silvery sheen to the foliage and dark, rough bark. The Undoolya Wattle usually grows to about six metres tall, but occasionally reaches over 12 metres.
Undoolya Wattle is endemic to the Northern Territory and is restricted to an area 30 km by 15 km in East MacDonnell Ranges near Alice Springs. It only grows on sandstone and quartzite hills, and occurs mostly on steep, south facing slopes and gullies.
Unfavourable fire regimes are the major threat to the remaining populations of Undoolya Wattle. Frequent hot wildfires can progressively deplete the species in an area especially if young plants are killed before they are old enough to produce seed.
A recovery team of representatives from community groups and agencies concerned with the fate of this species was established for Undoolya Wattle in 1997 and a recovery plan has been prepared. The recovery plan recommends that suitable firebreaks should be maintained around the remaining populations to protect them from wildfires and enable the eventual expansion of the species into suitable adjacent habitat.
Other conservation measures include:
- comprehensive mapping of the remaining populations of Undoolya Wattle;and
- monitoring existing populations to ensure that the management program is effective.
You can help this and other nationally threatened species by:
- protecting remnant bush in your community or on your land to help provide habitat for all our native species, including threatened species;
- supporting local efforts to conserve threatened species in your area by joining a local organisation such as a Landcare or catchment group, field naturalist or a 'friends' group or by volunteering for conservation projects with the Threatened Species Network, Greening Australia or Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers;
- participating in special events, information nights, tree planting days and weed eradication programs.
To find out more about saving your state's threatened species check out the Threatened Species Network website.
You can also find out more information about Australia's threatened species by calling the Department's Community Information Unit on free call 1800 803 772