Nature conservation

Threatened species

Harrow Wattle - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Acacia acanthoclada
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 21 Dec 2022


Acacia acanthoclada was first described as a rigid, divaricate and spinescent shrub with small rigid phyllodes which are narrow-cuneate and slightly notched at the apex. The Flora of NSW describes Acacia acanthoclada as an erect or spreading shrub, 0.3-1.5 m high; bark smooth, grey or occasionally slightly greenish; branchlets ± terete, spinose, densely hairy. Phyllodes ± straight, 0.2-0.6 cm long, 1-2 mm wide, midvein prominent, lateral veins sometimes conspicuous, apex acute to obtuse with a mucro, hairy; glands absent; pulvinus < 2 mm long. Heads 20-35-flowered, golden yellow, 1 in axil of phyllodes; peduncle 2-8 mm long. Pod twisted or coiled, ± flat, 3-6 cm long, 3-6 mm wide, brown, glaucous; seeds longitudinal; funicle expanded towards seed. In western NSW, Acacia acanthoclada plants are also described as low rigid shrubs with downy whitish branches and hard spiny branchlets. Two subspecies have been described, but only the nominate (acanthoclada) occurs in NSW.


The Harrow Wattle occurs across southern Australia, with the nominate subspecies occurring sporadically in south west NSW and far north west Victoria and more frequently in South Australia and southern Western Australia. The other subspecies (glaucescens) is restricted to the last state. Most records in NSW are either in the Scotia mallee (Scotia Sanctuary and adjoining properties) or from an area to the north east of Buronga (the area between Mallee Cliffs and Mungo National Parks but not within either of these reserves). Some of these sites occur within Southern Mallee Reserves on leasehold land which stock grazing excluded. A single (dead) plant has also recently been recorded west of Lake Victoria, so additional survey may expand the number of known populations in south western NSW.

Habitat and ecology

  • Grows in mallee communities on ridges and dunes and very occasionally on rocky outcrops; generally grows in deep, loose, sandy soil.
  • Associated species include White Mallee (Eucalyptus dumosa), Red Mallee (E. socialis), Yorrell (E. gracilis), Ridge-fruited Mallee (E. costata subsp. murrayana), Mallee Pine (Callitris verrucosa), Native Poplar (Codonocarpus cotinifolius) and Porcupine Grass (Triodia scariosa subsp. scariosa).
  • Flowers from August to October.
  • Grows from seed, requiring a warm, well-drained position in full sun or a little shade; grows well in well-drained sandy or loamy soils but will tolerate some clay and is considered to be quite long-lived as plants can be very deeply rooted.
  • Plants have been recorded in or adjacent to areas regenerating after fire.
  • One population on leasehold land is three to four hectares in area and comprises stunted and very woody plants, while another recently surveyed population found thousands of plants scattered over several hectares, most of which were dead with the rest heavily grazed (probably by goats). Plants have also been noted as scattered, occasional and very sparse within other populations.

Regional distribution and habitat

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Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Murray Darling DepressionSouth Olary Plain Known None
Other StateSA Known None
Other StateVIC Known None