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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Fabales

Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamilia: Caesalpinioideae
Tribus: Acacieae
Genus: Acacia
Species: Acacia kempeana


Acacia kempeana F.Muell., 1882


Racosperma kempeanum (F.Muell.) Pedley

Native distribution areas:
Acacia kempeana

Continental: Australasia
Regional: Australia
Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Mueller, F.J.H. v., 1882. Australasian Chemist and Druggist. suppl. 5:26.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Acacia kempeana in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2020 Aug 05. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Acacia kempeana. Published online. Accessed: Aug 05 2019. 2019. Acacia kempeana. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 05 Aug 2019.
Hassler, M. Aug. Acacia kempeana. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. Aug. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: Aug 05 {{{3}}}. Reference page.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Acacia kempeana in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 09-Oct-10.

Vernacular names
English: Wanderrie Wattle, Witchetty Bush

Acacia kempeana (Acacia or ακακία (akakia) from the Greek word Akis for thorn and kempeana after Pastor Kempe, co-founder of Lutheran Mission at Hermannburg-Ntaria in 1877), commonly known as wanderrie wattle, witchetty bush[1] or granite wattle, is a shrub in subfamily Mimosoideae of family Fabaceae that is endemic to arid parts of central and western Australia.


The Wanderrie wattle grows as a spreading shrub or tree with many stems typically to a height of 1 to 6 m (3 ft 3 in to 19 ft 8 in) but can reach over 10 m (33 ft).[2] It has furrowed, usually grey or brown coloured bark and terete, glabrous terete branchlets that are slightly scurfy.[1] Like most Acacia species, it has phyllodes rather than true leaves. These are a bright green to grey-green or blue-green colour, flat, up to around 9 cm (3.5 in) in length and 1.5 cm (0.59 in) wide. The phyllodes have a narrowly elliptic to narrowly elliptic, sometimes narrowly oblanceolate shape.[1] The flowers between January or April and September[2] are yellow, and held in cylindrical clusters 1 to 2 cm (0.39 to 0.79 in) in length. The pods are papery, about 7 cm (2.8 in) long and 1.5 cm (0.59 in) wide.

The species was first formally described by the botanist Ferdinand von Mueller in 1882 as part of the work Remarks on Australian Acacias as published in the Australasian Chemist and Druggist. It was reclassified as Racosperma kempeanum in 1987 by Leslie Pedley then transferred back to the genus Acacia in 2006.[3] It is closely related to Acacia sibirica, Acacia duriuscula and Acacia aprepta.[1]

Witchetty grubs are a traditional staple food in arid regions. These larvae feed on the roots of the witchetty bush (for which they are named), as well as other Acacia species.[4] The bush also provides edible gum and seeds.

The shrub is widely distributed through arid and semi-arid inland areas of Western Australia,[2] South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. It is often found growing on stony hillsides[1] and in a variety of soil types[2], especially coarse textured alluvium, and can often form part of mulga woodland communities on plains with sandy to loamy soils.[1]

The shrub can be propagated from scarified seeds or seeds pre-treated in boiling water. It grows well in an open, sunny and reasonably well-drained position and is suitable for most soil types. It is a hardy species in dry and low maintenance areas, well noted for being both drought and frost tolerant.[5]
See also

List of Acacia species


"Acacia kempeana". Flora of Australia Online. Department of the Environment and Heritage, Australian Government.
"Acacia kempeana". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
"Acacia kempeana F.Muell". Atlas of Living Australia. Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
Tindale, Norman (1952). "On some Australian Cossidae including the moth of the witjuti (witchety) grub". Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia. 76: 56.

"Acacia kempeana Witchetty Bush". Wattles - Genus Acacia. Australian National Herbarium. Retrieved 12 May 2019.

Mitchell, A. A.; Wilcox, D. G. (1994). Arid Shrubland Plants of Western Australia (Second and Enlarged ed.). Nedlands, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 978-1-875560-22-6.
Moore, P. (2005). A Guide to Plants of Inland Australia (First ed.). New Holland Publishers. ISBN 978-1-876334-86-4.

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