Acacia Garden

Wattles never fail to stop you in your tracks with their bright yellow, eye-catching blossoms. 

Acacia is the largest group of woody plants in Australia, with more than 1200 species. Wattles occur in habitats ranging from desert to riverine and display habits from groundcovers to trees. 

All species displayed within our ex situ collection are endemic to Western Australia. The horticulture team continue to trial new species to add to the collection.

Acacias are diverse in flower and leaf shape. Depending on the species, some acacias have a globular flower head such as Acacia glaucoptera (Flat Wattle) while others have a cylindrical flower such as Acacia denticulosa (Sandpaper Wattle). The number of flowers in each inflorescence can vary between species, with some having less than five individual flowers and others more than 100! When it comes to foliage, some acacias have 'true' leaves, while others have lost their leaves and have flattened stems known as phyllodes - a water-conserving adaptation to cope with heat and drought.

The central landscaping feature in the Acacia Garden is a dry riverbed, accommodating a broad organic staircase that doubles as a history book.

At each landing between the cascading granite steps are marble inlays depicting the leaves and flowers of different acacias (or wattles) by artist Stuart Green, who also etched seed pods into individual steps.

From the bottom you ascend through time as the evolutionary development of the acacia genus is illustrated in the mosaics, beginning with one of the most primitive species still in existence, Brown's wattle (Acacia browniana).

Walking up the stairs you will see mosaic representations of sandpaper wattle (Acacia denticulosa), wirewood wattle (Acacia coriacea), Dandaragan wattle (Acacia splendens) and blunt-tipped wattle (Acacia truncata). At the top is the most highly evolved, flat wattle (Acacia glaucoptera).

Many wattles are available commercially, either by seed or plant. Take a wander through the golden surrounds in winter and spring and you’re sure to be inspired for your home garden.

Round yellow blooms of the Flat Wattle.

Don't forget to celebrate acacias on 1 September for Wattle Day!

Look out for...

Acacia glaucoptera

This unusual acacia variety is grown for its striking blue-green wing-like foliage, with attractive purple-red new growth. 

Notes from the curator

Aki Hiramatsu

I have been working in the WA Botanic Garden for more than a decade. I am very happy to care for a collection that is one of the most iconic Australian plant genera. I find most acacia species are tough and can survive very high temperatures, in the wild as well as in our ex situ collection, although there are some exceptions. It is important to ensure young plants are watered well to aid establishment, particularly in the first year. I keep a close watch on water requirements, preferring a deep soak once or twice a week in the first year after planting, in periods of no rainfall.

I find that most acacias prefer not to be hard pruned, so usually post-flowering I give a light tip prune and always try to be sensitive to the natural habit of the species.