Plant of the Month- Jan 2019


(Acacia rupicola)

(Photos: C. Schultz; Rapid Bay)

There are lots of prickly wattles; you are probably used to seeing one called Acacia paradoxa (Kangaroo Thorn). This is another prickly one, also with ball-shaped yellow flowers on short stems from the leaf base. However, whereas Acacia paradoxa has thorns growing from the leaf bases, it is the leaves themselves that are prickly on Acacia rupicola, the rock wattle: there is a sharp point at each leaf tip. Those leaves are lance-shaped, about 10 times as long as they are wide: 2.5cm to 2.5mm! The shrub itself grows to about 2-2.5m, is rigid and glabrous (smooth). Young growth can be a bit sticky, and the bush can have a smell of resin. The books say flowers finish in November, so the long curved brown seed pods should be visible in January. Nature doesn’t always read the books – these photos at Rapid Bay mid December had both flowers and ripe seedpods. Don’t get stabbed by those leaves when harvesting seed, and look carefully for insect life! This well camouflaged orb- weaver is the same colour as the dying flowers.