Acacia merinthophora

Common name: Zig-zag Wattle

Family: FABACEAE

Flowering Acacia merinthophora in winter. Photo: D. Blumer.View image slideshow

Origin of Scientific Name

Acacia: (Greek) from Acis – a pointed instrument or thorn; referring to the thorns on many Acacia species.

merinthophora: (Greek) merinthos – cord or string, and phoreo – to carry or wear; referring to its long, thin phyllodes.

Description

Acacia merinthophora is an openly-branched highly ornamental shrub or tree with an attractive weeping habit that grows to a height of between one and a half, and four metres. This wattle is predominantly native to the central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, occurring from Cadoux to Bruce Rock, with isolated occurrences at Perenjori and east of Hyden, where it can be found growing mostly in sandy soils within tall shrubland.

Like many other Acacia species, the mature A. merinthophora has modified leaf-like structures called phyllodes instead of true leaves. These grey-green phyllodes are very long (up to 300 mm), thin and curved, adding to the weeping and graceful nature of the plant. Short, rod-shaped bright yellow flower clusters of about 10-15 mm in length are produced in the axis of the phyllode and stem during late autumn to early spring, followed by slender curved seed pods.

One of the most interesting features of this species is its attractive zig-zag branchlets that change direction at each point where the phyllode attaches to the stem – hence its common name. This makes it an excellent native substitute for curly willow in dried floral arrangements.

Horticultural tips

  • Best grown from seed, sown in spring. Seed is available from commercial seed suppliers.
  • Seed should be pre-treated with hot water prior to sowing.
  • Adaptable to a range of soils as long as it is in a well-drained and sunny position.
  • Once established, the Zig-zag Wattle will tolerate extended drought periods and is moderately frost tolerant.
  • Can be pruned for a more shrub-like habit.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park and Botanic Garden to see Acacia merinthophora growing at the Botanic Terraces and adjacent to the Acacia Steps, both located within the Western Australian Botanic Garden (refer to map).

Want more information?

Refer to the profile for this plant on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions' FloraBase online herbarium.

   Acacia merinthophora's weeping habit. Photo: D. Blumer. Acacia merinthophora growing in Kings Park. Photo: D. Blumer. 

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