Acacia aphylla Mimosaceae
‘Leafless Rock Wattle’, ‘Twisted Desert Wattle’, ‘Live Wire ’
Erect many-branching shrub from approximately 1 metre in diameter to over 2 metres in height. Twisted, leafless stems have a blue grey waxy coating. Golden yellow flowers are produced from winter to spring (each spherical flower head is composed of a mass of smaller flowers).
Some wattles that have evolved in harsh drier environments are characterised by overall short size, reduced leaf size and leaf surface area.
In case of Acacia aphylla, seedlings start out growing typical Acacia leaves which are soon shed after dry conditions, then the plant continues to grow stems as a totally leafless wattle, hence its name ‘aphylla’ which means without leaves.
Thickened blue-green wiry stems, with the ability to photosynthesize like leaves are an evolutionary adaptation that greatly reduces the surface area for water loss through transpiration. (The main body of text continues when you scroll down well beyond the pictures below).
These images are a small sample from our photo library which contains 685 images, just of this one species. 77 of these images were taken in habitat, showing not only the plants, but more importantly various aspects of its unique environment. Please ask for specific pictures. (Also see NEW booklet about these and other wattles in website Bookshop).
This species is found on and around lateritic soils and granite outcrops on hillsides in open forest, with an associated xerophyte of possible interest, in its range being Xanthorrhoea preissii (grass tree).
Acacia aphylla is endemic to south- west Western Australia. It is only known from small populations east of Perth. Precise localities of these populations have been withheld by the government for many years for conservation reasons; however an example is where 15 plants were found growing in the Army Firing Range at Northam WA. Another location is known as the hidden valley.
It was recorded as rare in 1950 and after 1992 it was listed as vulnerable and so protected under the Endangered species Protection Act 1992. This plants conservation status on the latest FloraBase website of the Western Australian government is ‘Declared Rare’.
This species produces an abundance of seed during summer which stores well and remains viable for many years but regeneration in habitat is considered inadequate with often few or no seedling to be found. In cultivation, its hard black seeds need to be soaked for twenty -four hours, with initially boiled hot water, to soften the hard coating, which in turn will almost certainly improve a consistent and early germination of seeds.
While Acacias are considered short –lived shrubs or trees many can last up to 15-20 years. A. aphylla is fast growing to a about 1 meter in height and width, within 1 to 3 years , during which time they are likely to be at their best, visually to us anyway. By this ideal size (for many growers), plants flower readily in exposed situations, after which a light to heavy prune is recommended to keep any desired shape or height, as well as contributing to an extension of the plants life.
Extra points of interest-
- Short VIDEO of how to best care for and prune Acacia aphylla: http://youtu.be/lYfBFseJCKg
- Many wattles are deep rooted so are considered useful in areas affected by rising salt.
- Cut stems (without flowers) sell for $5.50-$6.50 per stem at flower markets.
- Very well known and popular in Californian gardening circles.
- Plants for sale $15.00 each (see Live Plants section, then bottom of page).
- SEEDS for sale - we have limited very fresh seed (see general seed list, at bottom).
- (Also see NEW booklet about these and other wattles in website Bookshop).