Common name: Elephant Ear Wattle


Acacia dunnii flowering in Kings Park. Photo: D. Blumer.View image slideshow

Origin of Scientific Name

Acacia – (Greek) acacia, ace or acis – point or thorn.

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


Acacia dunnii is a single-stemmed medium shrub to small tree, growing up to seven metres, with smooth, white powdery bark. The common name derives from its very large silver-blue phyllodes (leaf-like structures) that can be up to 45 cm long by 16 cm wide, with several prominent longitudinal veins.

Rich golden yellow globular flower-heads appear sporadically throughout the year but particularly in summer to autumn. Each head is about two centimeters across and carries dozens of individual flowers. Flowers are followed by oblong seed pods about 10 cm long.

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 in the West Kimberley to Halls Creek and Wyndham in the East Kimberley.

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.

Horticultural tips

  • Easily propagated from seed using a hot water pre-treatment technique.
  • This plant can be challenging to grow in cooler climates so plant in a sunny position in well-drained soil.
  • 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.

For more horticultural tips view our Plant Notes section.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park and Botanic Garden to see Acacia dunnii in the Kimberley Garden bed of the Western Australian Botanic Garden.

Want more information?

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

Acacia dunnii in Kings Park garden beds. Photo: D. Blumer.Acacia dunnii pods. Photo: D. Blumer.Companion planting with endemic species of the Kimberley region. Photo: D. Blumer.

Kings Park access disruption

Part of the Western Path between Monash Avenue and Aberdare Road will be closed from Monday, 8 February 2021 due to construction works on The Kids’ Bridge, pedestrian detours will be in place.

DNA Tower closure

The DNA Tower in Kings Park will be closed from Monday, 8 February 2021 until mid-April 2021 due to maintenance.

Concert traffic interruptions

Road and carpark closures will occur in Kings Park and Botanic Garden in February-March 2021 due to concert events.

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Farewell and thank you Grady and Lesley

The Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) would like to extend a sincere thank you and farewell to two of our longest serving staff members, Lesley Hammersley and Grady Brand who will retire from the Authority in December 2020.

Noongar Boodja Six Seasons is back!

Kings Park Education is excited to open bookings for our 2021 program of Noongar Boodja Six Seasons festivals, a celebration of Aboriginal culture, proudly presented by Fugro.

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