Nature conservation

Threatened species

Bolivia 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 pycnostachya
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Vulnerable
Profile last updated: 20 Oct 2020


Bolivia Wattle is a shrub or small tree, between 1 and 10 m tall. The grey-green leaves are very firm and somewhat curved (almost sickle-shaped). They are 7 - 10 cm long by 1 - 2.5 cm wide. The species is characterised by the very coarse, sharply ridged but flattened branchlets. Bark is finely fissured and light brownish grey. Deep yellow flowers are borne on a 2 - 5 cm long spike and occur in spring. A brown, leathery pod, 8 - 12 cm long and 3 - 4 mm wide contains the seeds.


Restricted to NSW. Three extensive populations exist in the vicinity of Bolivia Hills and Bluff River Nature Reserves south of Tenterfield, and on nearby Crown Land. Smaller populations have been found on private land in other areas and the species may be more widespread than is currently documented. The plant tends to occur in patches although sparsely distributed individuals are common at Bolivia Hill.

Habitat and ecology

  • Flowers in spring or from July to October. Fruits are borne October to November. The species may not tolerate too-frequent fire (more often than 15-20 years), which may kill adult plants before the soil seed bank is adequate to provide recruitment.
  • Acacia pycnostachya typically grows in dry sclerophyll forest amongst granite outcrops, on hillsides at altitudes of 700 to 900 m, but is flexible in its habitat. Soil types range from acid volanics to sandy and skeletal on exposed outcrops, to shallow sandy loams in less exposed sites. It often grows in stands in areas sheltered from fire.
  • Generally plants appear to dominate the understorey or tall shrub stratum below an open canopy of taller shrubs or trees. Dense stands are currently common.
  • Associated species include Eucalyptus prava, Eucalyptus andrewsii, Callitris endlicheri, Acacia adunca, Eucalyptus campanulata, Leptospermum brevipes, Acacia neriifolia, Stypandra glauca, Notelaea microcarpa and Callitris species.
  • Multiple sub-populations of Acacia pycnostachya located at Bolivia Hill comprise over 20,000 plants. The population in the Back Creek area north-west of Tenterfield was estimated as well over 100,000 individuals, and more than 200 plants were recently discovered at a distant site near Anketell. Together with Bluff Rock, which exists as a metapopulation, the species apparently numbers over 200,000 individuals spread over a wide area.
  • The population at Bolivia Hill did not suffer significant declines during the recent severe drought in the area, with a loss of approximately 5% of mature individuals. Survivors currently remain in good health, and the site was not burned during the extensive bushfires of 2019.

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
New England TablelandsTenterfield Plateau Known None