Herbs & Plants

Acacia verticillata

Botanical Name: Acacia verticillata
Family: Fabaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Clade: Mimosoideae
Genus: Acacia
Species: A. verticillata

Common Names: Prickly Moses; Prickly-leaved wattle; Star-leaved acacia; Prickly mimosa; Whorl-leaved acacia

Habitat: Acacia verticillata is endemic to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. The species is a common understorey shrub in both wet and dry sclerophyll forests as well as scrub and heath. In coastal environments it will often have much wider leaves as opposed to the regular needle-like nature of inland specimens. The range of the plant extends from the Gulf St Vincent in South Australia throughout the south-eastern parts and into southern and south eastern Victoria and far south-eastern New South Wales and Tasmania including the islands in Bass Strait where it is situated in saline, riparian and submontane areas. It is widespread in saline and submontane tracts.

Acacia verticillata is an evergreen shrub or tree can grow to a maximum height of around 10 m (33 ft) and has a spreading habit. The branchlets have bristly prickling stipules with a length of 0.5 to 2 mm (0.020 to 0.079 in) in length. Like most species of Acacia it has phyllodes rather than true leaves. The evergreen phyllodes grow in bundles that are all crowded together and are whorled that have a linear or lanceolate shape with a length of 5 to 25 mm (0.20 to 0.98 in) and a width of 1 to 7 mm (0.039 to 0.276 in). The phyllodes are glabrous, pungent and rigid with one main visible vein. It blooms between July and December producing simple inflorescences on glabrous stalks with a length of 2 to 5 mm (0.079 to 0.197 in). The ovoid the spherical flower-spikes have a length of up to 4.5 cm (1.8 in) with densely pack light yellow coloured flowers. The compressed an linear seed pods that form after flowering are barely constricted between each of the seeds. The pods are 2 to 8 cm (0.79 to 3.15 in) in length and have a width of 3 to 5 mm (0.12 to 0.20 in) and have quite thin valves. The elliptic shaped seeds are around 3 to 4 mm (0.12 to 0.16 in) in length and have a filamentous funicle that folds and thickens into a turbinate aril.


Prefers a sandy loam and a very sunny position. Another report says that it needs some shade. Succeeds in dry soils. Succeeds in any good garden soil that is not excessively limey. Most members of this genus become chlorotic on limey soils. Trees are not very hardy outdoors in Britain, they tolerate occasional temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c, but even in the mildest areas of the country they are likely to be killed in excessively harsh winters. A tree in Cornwall reached a height and width of 6 metres. A fast-growing tree, frequently flowering in a few years from seed. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Edible Uses:
Flowers – cooked. Rich in pollen, they are often used in fritters.

Medicinal Uses: Not known to us.

Other Uses:
The most common use is growing acacia for wood in the manufacturing of furniture. It is a very strong wood, so it is also used to make support beams for the construction of buildings. The beautiful wood is also used in carving for utilitarian purposes such as making bowls and for decorative uses.

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A green dye is obtained from the seed pods. Plants are heavily armed with thorns and make a good screen or hedge in warm temperate areas.

Prickly Moses is sold commercially for cultivation and can grow in full sun or part shape in a variety of locations including plains, hills and footslopes as a second line from the coast. It will grow in clay or loam soils that are alkaline, neutral or acidic and will tolerate drought, water logging and a moderate frost. It is regarded as an excellent habitat for birds but is highly flammable and not recommended for near houses in bushfire prone areas. Indigenous Australians used the fibre from the plant to make fishing lines.

In popular culture:
On 1 September 2016, the Reserve Bank of Australia released a replacement of the polymer five dollar note which includes a depiction of Acacia verticillata

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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