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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Article from New Trees, Ross Bayton & John Grimshaw

Recommended citation
'Acacia dealbata' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-10-26.


Common Names

  • Silver Wattle
  • Mimosa


  • Acacia decurrens var. dealbata (Link) F. v. Muell.


globularSpherical or globe-shaped.
A much-branched inflorescence. paniculate Having the form of a panicle.
Odd-pinnate; (of a compound leaf) with a central rachis and an uneven number of leaflets due to the presence of a terminal leaflet. (Cf. paripinnate.)


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Article from New Trees, Ross Bayton & John Grimshaw

Recommended citation
'Acacia dealbata' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-10-26.

An evergreen tree occasionally 100 ft high in a wild state, with a trunk as much as 11 ft in girth; young shoots angled, clothed with fine white down. Leaves doubly pinnate, 3 to 5 in. long, the main divisions (pinnae) in usually fifteen to twenty pairs, each 1 to 114 in. long, and bearing thirty to fifty pairs of tiny linear leaflets, which are about 16 in. long and 130 in. wide. All the parts of the leaves are covered with the same silvery down as the young shoots, but not so thickly. Flowers fragrant, produced in panicles of globose heads or balls, each panicle 3 to 4 in. long, each head 16 in. wide, yellow, opening (on outdoor plants) in late winter and early spring. Seed-pods blue-white, 2 to 3 in. long, 14 to 12 in. wide, flat.

Native of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania; introduced from Tasmania in 1820. At Kew it has to be given cool greenhouse treatment but is successfully grown in many Irish, Cornish, and Devon gardens, also along the coasts of Sussex and Hampshire. At Abbotsbury, in Dorset, it reached 70 ft in height and produced good seed. Even as far east as Suffolk it has grown and flowered well in the open ground. Really severe winters like those of the early sixties will kill it or cut it to the ground over much of the country but it is, perhaps, our cool and cloudy summers that prevent it from developing its full beauty as a flowering shrub, abundant sun and heat being necessary if the wood is to ripen and produce the embryonic flowers. For this reason the silver wattle is most likely to prove a success in sunny coastal gardens, in a position protected from strong winds, but unfortunately it will not tolerate chalky soils.

It is remarkably beautiful on the French Riviera, especially about Cannes, whence it is that such large quantities of flowering branches are sent to Paris and London as ‘mimosa’. The beautiful silvery, feathery foliage and clear yellow, fragrant flowers make a charming and perfectly beautiful combination.

From New Trees

Acacia dealbata Link

Silver Wattle

Synonyms: Racosperma dealbatum (Link) Pedley

This species was described by Bean (B173) and Krüssmann (K55).

A decurrens (Wendl.) Willd.

Mimosa decurrens Wendl

Leaves less hairy, rich green, with the ultimate divisions more widely spaced. A. dealbata is sometimes considered to be a variety of this species, and certainly they are closely allied.

subsp. subalpina Tindale & Kodela

Described only in 2001, Acacia dealbata subsp. subalpina is of great interest to gardeners in temperate areas, as it represents the highest-altitude provenance of the species. For most practical horticultural purposes it is very similar to typical A. dealbata in physical appearance, although subsp. subalpina is supposed to be shorter and smaller in its parts, but the fact that its range is principally above 700 m in the mountains of southeastern Australia (Kodela & Tindale 2001) is highly significant in terms of its potential extra hardiness. Subsp. subalpina has become widely cultivated, and is freely available in commerce, but in the United Kingdom at least its supposed advantage has yet to be put to the test, and Hogan (2008) has found that other high-altitude forms from mainland Australia are hardier. Its supposedly more compact stature may also be an advantage in smaller gardens, although a specimen in the Oxford Botanic Garden had reached 6 m before it was removed in 2007 (S. Andrews, pers. comm. 2007).


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