Golden Wattle, Green Wattle, Australian Golden Wattle, Black Wattle, Broad-leaved Wattle, Golden Wattle., Goldern Wattle, Witch.
Pycnantha, from Greek phchos, thick and compact, and anthos, flowers, referring to dense flower heads.
Presence in Australia
Widespread in most areas west of the Hume Highway.
This specie has been identified in the following Australian states: NSW, ACT, Vic, Tas, SA, WA.
Usually dry sclerophyll forest, Box woodland and heath. Sandy and stony soils.
Erect or spreading tree or shrub 3-8m high. Dark brown to greyish smooth or finely fissured bark and "leaves" 6-20cm long. May form thickets.
Young plants may be frost tender, while mature plants are reasonably frost tolerant. Tolerates drought and wide range of soils. Tolerates brief waterlogging and shade, which does not suppress seedling establishment. Fire kills mature plants.
Short-lived. Fast-growing. Floral emblem of Australia.
Golden-yellow, Jul-Nov. Strongly scented.
Early Nov to mid Jan. Frequently produces large crops.
From scarified seed (20-64 viable seeds per gram). Pour boiling water over seeds and soak for several hours before sowing.
From seed after fire, or without fire in non-compacted soil. Seeds remain viable in soil for many decades. Establishes very well when direct seeded.
Shade and shelter
Useful low-level cover in windbreaks.
Useful for stabilising soil due to fibrous roots. Legume, improves soil fertility by "fixing" nitrogen.
Burns well and produces a hot fire, but generally too small to be useful.
Pale buff to brown. Not durable. Easily split. Bark is one of richest tannin sources in world, although rarely used commercially.
Small nectar-feeding birds attracted to base of "leaves". Flowers are a pollen source for native moths, butterflies and other insects. Insect-eating birds attracted. Larvae of the Fiery Jewel Butterfly feed on foliage at night. Grubs living at stem bases are food for birds, including the Grey Shrike-thrush and Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike. Gum is important food for possums such as the Sugar Glider and Squirrel Glider. Mature plants are nest sites for the Grey-crowned Babbler in Grey Box woodland. Insects attracted are important food for the Regent Honeyeater during breeding.
Gum eaten or dissolved in water with nectar to make sweet drink. Bark possibly used for medicine and fibre.
Attractive, free-flowering specimen with beautiful foliage. Cut out central growth when young to encourage bushiness. Unsuitable for high rainfall areas (over 1000 mm/year).
"Leaves" produce gold coloured dye with alum as mordant. European settlers used gum to treat diahorrea.