Acacia baileyana (*)
Acacia baileyana F.Muell.
Acacia baileyana, commonly known as Cootamundra Wattle, is a shrub or tree in the legume family. The scientific name of the species honors the botanist Frederick Manson Bailey. It is but one of nearly 1000 species of Acacia found in Australia. The Cootamundra Wattle is indigenous to a small area in southern New South Wales but has been widely planted in other Australian states. In many areas of Victoria, Cootamundra Wattle has become naturalised and is regarded as a weed, outcompeting indigenous Victorian species.
Almost all wattles have cream to golden flowers. The small flowers are arranged in spherical to cylindrical inflorescences, with only the stamens prominent. Wattles have been extensively introduced into New Zealand and are regarded by many New Zealanders as one of the most typical features of their home landscape.
A. baileyana is used in Europe in the cut flower industry. It is also used as food for bees in the production of honey.
Less than 0.02% alkaloids were found in a chemical analysis of Acacia baileyana.
This plant is adaptable and easy to grow. Unfortunately it has an ability to naturalize (i.e. escape) into surrounding bushland. Also, it hybridizes with some other wattles, notably the rare and endangered Sydney Basin species Acacia pubescens.
A prostrate weeping form is in cultivation. Its origin is unknown, but it itself is a popular garden plant, its cascading horizontal branches good for rockeries. The fine foliage of the original Cootamundra wattle is grey-green, but a blue-purple foliaged form, known as 'Purpurea' is very popular.
1. ^ ILDIS LegumeWeb
* Stewart, Angus (2001). Gardening on the Wild Side. Sydney: ABC Books. ISBN 0-7333-0791-4.
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