Acacia dunnii

Common name: Elephant Ear Wattle

Family: FABACEAE

Acacia dunnii in the Kimberley region garden bedOrigin of Scientific Name

Acacia– from the Greek acacia, ace or acis, a point or thorn.

dunnii – after E.J. Dunn (1844-1937), Victorian government geologist.

Description

Single-stemmed medium shrub to small tree, 3-7m tall x 2-4m wide, with smooth, white powdery bark. The common name derives from its very large silver-blue leaves, often 20-45cm long x 6-16cm wide, with four or five prominent longitudinal veins merging with the lower margin. Flower-heads are globular and rich golden yellow in colour, measuring 2cm across and borne in large terminal racemes 30-50cm long. Flowers are followed by oblong pods 9-11cm x 1.5cm.

Distribution

This wattle is very restricted in range, preferring shallow, rocky soils on sandstone hills and slopes. It occurs only in the north-western region of Western Australia from Derby-West Kimberley to Halls Creek and Wyndham-East Kimberley.

Refer to the distribution map for this species via the Department of Environment and Conservation's FloraBase online herbarium.

Flowering Season

Summer/Autumn

Cultivation/Propagation

This species will easily propagate from seed using a hot water technique and prefers a sunny position in well drained soil. It is very cold sensitive and will suffer in Perth’s winter months. The secret is to establish the plant over summer, applying a 3-4 month slow release fertiliser then allowing it to overwinter. When the temperature starts to warm up in November, reapply 3-4 month slow release fertiliser to rejuvenate the plant and water generously in the coming months. If growing in a container, choose a location that is sunny, hot and dry over the winter months to enhance success.

Notes

Though not well known in cultivation, Acacia dunnii is grown extensively in towns of the Kimberley as an attractive ornamental. It is spectacular both in foliage and in flower and will cultivate easily. In the garden it is ideal for companion planting with other Kimberley species such as Gomphrena sp., Ptilotus sp., Senna artemisioides., Pandanus sp., Eucalyptus victrix, Cymbopogon procerus, Swainsona sp., Crotalaria sp. and Cleome viscosa.

View in Kings Park

It can be found in the Kimberley beds of the Western Australian Botanic Garden.