Northern Black Wattle
Short Description: fast growing medium tree, 16-30m tall that forms dense foliage cover. It is particularly drought resistant, and tolerates poor soil conditions
Leaves: long, slightly curved leaves (10-20cm)
Flowers: grouped yellow flowers in a spike, up to 8cm long; develop from February to August
Fruits: Pods flat but strongly coiled, brown, linear to oblong that contain shiny black seeds
What to Observe
First fully open single flower
Full flowering (record all days)
End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)
ClimateWatch Science Advisor
We expect plants to start shooting and flowering earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. They may also start appearing in new areas, as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold or unsuitable.
Help scientists answer the question: "How are our animals, plants and ecosystems responding to climate change?"
When To Look
Throughout the year. During flowering season (Feb – Aug), the species is easy to identify.
Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes in the timing of these events so remember to keep a lookout all year!
Where To Look
Well-drained sandy soils, beside waterways and swamps, and in closed or low open forests
Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes outside of their known ranges so remember to keep a lookout beyond these regions too!
Other wattle species; Acacia polystachya can be distinguished by smaller bladed leaves that have a red or pink gland visible on the upper side. Flowers are also spiked, but are sparse and white, with pods that are usually twisted, curved or coiled to some extent.
Auriculiformis shares the same common name as A. mearnsii which is unrelated and found in all states except Northern Territory.
Remember: flower (spike) colour can help distinguish species
Did You Know?
- The species was actively introduced and planted as a source of firewood and as an ornamental shade tree worldwide!
- Scientists call plants that are the first to regrow in a disturbed area, pioneer species. Black Wattle seeds are very tough and can survive fires, floods, droughts, and even bulldozers. They can grow in extremely degraded (even poisonous) soils. The built-in 'fertiliser factories' in their roots absorb nitrogen (an important element of fertiliser) from the air, thus improving the soil for itself and other plants. They are extremely fast growing. They can grow up to 2 metres a year and reach a height of 30 metres. Their roots are quick to hold loose sand or soil together to protect it from erosion. They also provide shade for other shade loving trees to grow underneath them.
- Aboriginal people use Black Wattle to:
- make a pain relief rub
- make axe handles, spear heads and
- spear throwers
- crush the seeds to use as a fish
- crush the pods as soap
- And in the Tiwi Islands:
- dugout canoes are made from the
- and they also use the flowering
- period to indicate that turtles are ready to
- hunt, and that the local Tern's eggs (a
- sea bird) are ready to collect