Wattle begins to flower in earnest from winter, at least here in the Reserve, and will continue to do so for a while.
Silver Wattle, Acacia dealbata, is the most prominent wattle in flower, especially around the reservoir and along the track heading up to the west.
This is a plant of open forest and woodlands, flowering from mid-winter to spring, and native to this area. This plant has fern-like leaves and can grow up to 30m high. It can be seen, in particular, on the western side of the reservoir with its pale golden to bright yellow, pom-pom shaped flowers.
It does look similar to the Cootamundra wattle (Acacia baileyana) – and there are a few in the Reserve which are supposed to be removed because they can become invasive. They have generally stopped flowering at this point – they are the earliest in bloom.
The leaves of the Cootamundra are bluer and somewhat shorter and wider here than the generally silvery green of the Silver wattle. But, the flowers of the Cootamundra are produced in the leaf axils. In the Silver wattle, they’re also produced terminally. They can interbreed, though.
Silver wattle is known as an excellent nursery plant for eucalypts. It’s an important source of pollen for bees and its sap and gum are an important source of winter food for a group of possums that includes gliders and Leadbeaters Possum.
Generally regarded as a pest species because of its ability to spread – others use the term invade – the Sallow Wattle or Acacia Longifolia, can also be seen in the Reserve.
In contrast to the Silver wattle, the flowers are like bottle brushes, long narrow cylinders. These are the result of earlier plantings but also suburban escapees, especially in the southern section.
This wattle will need to be added to the Reserve’s weed removal list, along with the remaining cootamundra wattles.
Sources and further resources
Department of Environment and Primary Industries (2011) Sallow Wattle: Invasive Plants. http://vro.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/vro/vrosite.nsf/pages/weeds_trees_sallow
Kodela, P.G. in PlantNET – The Plant Information Network System of The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust,(2012) Acacia dealbata. http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Acacia~dealbata
Kodela, P.G. in PlantNET – The Plant Information Network System of The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust,(2012) Acacia baileyana. http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Acacia~baileyana
University of Queensland (2011) Factsheet: Acacia dealbata subsp. dealbata. http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/03030800-0b07-490a-8d04-0605030c0f01/media/Html/Acacia_dealbata_subsp._dealbata.htm
Worldwide Wattle (2013) Acacia dealbata subsp. dealbata. http://www.worldwidewattle.com/imagegallery/image.php?p=0&l=d&id=19920&o=1
Worldwide Wattle (2013) Acacia baileyana. http://www.worldwidewattle.com/imagegallery/image.php?p=0&l=b&id=18285&o=1