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  1. 177 Photo by John Tann
  2. 177_0 Photo by John Tann
  3. 177_1 Photo by John Tann
  4. 177_2 Photo by PJ Rosenberger III

Sweet Scented Wattle, Sweet Wattle

Acacia suaveolens

Appearance

  • Evergreen shrub with smooth, purplish brown or light green bark.
  • Size: 0.3 – 3 m high.
  • Leaves: narrow, straight or very slightly elliptic, and blue-green. Each leaf is about 5 – 15 cm long and 2 – 10 mm wide, with a prominent vein down the centre. Its surface is hairless and covered with a fine white powder. It grows at right angles to the stem.
  • Flowers: pale yellow to white and ball-shaped. Each flower is 4 – 7 mm in diameter and is found in clusters of 5 – 10 flowers aligned along an axis of 1 – 3 cm long. They are sweet smelling and enclosed in overlapping bracts (modified leaves) before opening.
  • Fruit/seed: oblong, flat, and straight-sided pods. They are 2 – 5 cm long, 8 – 19 mm wide, and bluish in colour.

What to Observe

  • First fully open single flower
  • Full flowering (record all days)
  • End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)
  • Open seed pods (record all days)

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 for them. Help scientists answer the question: "How are our animals, plants and ecosystems responding to climate change?".

When To Look

  • From autumn through spring
  • Flowers appear from March to September
  • Seed pods appear after flowers

Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes in the timing of these events so remember to keep a lookout from late February!

Where To Look

  • In heath and dry woodland areas where there is sandy soil. It is chiefly found in coastal regions of low altitude (up to 300 metres).
  • It is very common in the bushland surrounding Sydney, but occurs along the east coast and ranges of Australia from southern Queensland south and into Tasmania. It also occurs on some offshore islands, the Grampians, and in the border region of South Australia and Victoria.

Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes outside of their known ranges so remember to keep a lookout beyond these regions!

Sweet Scented Wattle Occurrence Map ALA

References

Orchard AE, Wilson A. (eds). Flora of Australia Volume 11a. Mimosaceae, Acacia part 1. CSIRO Publishing Collingwood, Victoria.

Tame T. 2002. Acacias of southeast Australia. Kangaroo press, Kenthurst N.S.W.

Walther G, Post E, Convey P, Menzel A, Parmesan C, Beebee TJC, Fromentin J, Hoegh-Guldberg O, and Bairlein F 2002. Ecological responses to recent climate change. Nature 416: 389–395.

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  1. What Else?

    • Flinders Ranges or Willow-leaved Wattle (Acacia iteaphylla): a bushier shrub up to 4 m high, with longer seed pods (5 – 13 cm long).
  1. Did You Know?

    It was first described by renowned botanist J.E. Smith, the founder of London’s Linneaen Society.

    Its genus name Acacia means to sharpen, referring to the prickly nature of the first species discovered; and its species name suaveolens means sweet smelling, referring to the sweet scent produced by the flowers.

    In its natural habitat, it is killed by fire and relies on stored seed reserves in the soil to regenerate.

    In its native habitat, it is one of the earliest flowering wattles.