habit, WA

Natural populations

Acacia ligulata is widespread across most arid and semi-arid Australia. It is a common species on inland and coastal sand dunes and a range of other sites such as floodplains, lower hill slopes and fringing salt lakes [1,2,3,4]. Acacia ligulata is a bushy shrub normally 1-2 m tall but may be up to 5 m tall on some sites.

Flowering and seeds

Flowers during August to November depending on location [2,3,4]. Pods mature about two months later [5]. There are about 20 viable seeds per gram [5]. Nicking or boiling the seeds in water for a minute at 100°C is required for germination. The seeds start to germinate in about 3 days if grown at 20-25°C [5].

Cultivation and uses

This species tolerates some of the hottest and driest climates in Australia. It has fast initial growth and is mainly used for sand stabilisation [4].

Key descriptors:

Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 150-700 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern summer or uniform
Mean annual temperature: 15-28 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 32-38 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 5-10 °C
Frosts per year: frost free or more or less frost free, up to 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C) or heavy (greater than -5°C)
Altitude: 0-700 metres
Tolerance of climate extremes
Drought: known to be tolerant of protracted droughts
Fire: killed by damaging fire does not regenerate foliage or regenerates foliage after damaging fire
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Wind: tolerates salt-laden coastal winds
Soil factors
Texture: loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Soil pH reaction: neutral (6.5-7.5) or alkaline (greater than 7.5)
Soil depth: moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage: well-drained
Salinity: slightly to moderately saline or non-saline
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in pH: highly acidity or alkalinity
Extremes in texture: sand
Salinity: nil - sensitive to saline soils or slight (2-4 dS m-1)
Soil waterlogging tolerance: nil - sensitive to waterlogged soils
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen, multi-stemmed from or near ground level, shrub less than 2 m tall or shrub or small tree less than 5 m tall
Longevity: moderate to long lived (>15 years) or short-lived less than 15 years
Growth rate: fast or moderate
Root system: moderate to deep, shallow and spreading, fixes nitrogen via root symbiot, forms root suckers
Erosion control potential: excellent for sandy sites
Shade tolerance: grows best in full sunlight
Wood density: mod. to high (greater than 600 kg/cubic metre)
Carbon sequestration potential: low
Traditional Aboriginal uses: gum or resin (eaten or for adhesives), medicinal or seeds/fruits eaten
Urban use: suitable as a screen or hedge
Wood products: high quality fuelwood
Potentially undesirable attributes
Fire sensitivity: variable - some plants coppice back or killed by severe fires (seeder)
Growth habit: shallow roots may outcompete adjacent plants
Weediness: high potential based on its biology


[1] Cowan AR, Maslin BR (2001) Acacia ligulata. Flora of Australia, 11A: 400-01.

[2] Tame T (1992) Acacias of New South Wales. Kangaroo Press, Sydney.

[3] Cunningham GM, Mulham WE, Milthorpe PL, Leigh JH (1992) Plants of Western New South Wales, Inkata Press, Port Melbourne, Victoria.

[4] Whibley DJE, Symon DE (1992) Acacias of South Australia (South Australian Govt Printer, Adelaide).

[5] Gunn BV (2001) Australian Tree Seed Centre Operations Manual. Internal Publication, CSIRO Australian Tree Seed Centre, ACT. [Online at  Accessed March 2008]

Internet links

Alice Spings Town Council:

eFloraSA Electronic Flora of South Australia:  

PlantNET National Herbarium of New South Wales:

World Wide Wattle: