Growing Native Plants
Acacia lineata A.Cunn. ex G.Don
Acacia lineata , or streaked wattle, occurs in central and south-western New South Wales extending into the north-west mallee in Victoria It also has scattered occurrences in Queensland and South Australia. Its habitat is mainly in eucalypt woodlands, mallee or scrubland on low nutrient and high drainage sandy red earths and gravelly loams. It is an extremely frost and dry hardy species which grows on well drained soils and depending on environmental factors can be an upright shrub to 2 metres, or forms a tight sprawling hedge up to 3 metres wide.
The phyllodes, which are modified leaf stalks instead of true leaves, are small (0.7 to 2 cm long) with a very prominent longitudinal vein and are tightly clustered along slightly hairy branches. The flower heads are either one or two, and are situated around the base of the phyllode and consist of 10-16 yellow flowers in small heads. The trunk is grey with small branches that are slightly resinous with hairs.
A. lineata flowers in spring between July and October. It makes a great garden ornamental plant for its densely bush-like qualities and showy flowers which in spring are absolutely breath-taking. It is ideal for planting amongst low trees as it also provides a wind break and micro climate for inter planting other species. A lineata is also great for habitat and refuge as its tight hedge like qualities provide shelter and refuge for small birds away from predators like cats.
When cultivating A. lineata its best to allow it to grow in sunny or dappled shade on well drained soils as with a low spaced over story like it would receive in a Mallee community. If pruned shortly after flowering it will maintain its abundant blooming and tight hedge qualities.
Propagation is best from seed, and the plant should take off with high success rate. Seed can be harvested in summer and then directly sown into small containers when spring comes around. To break the hard seed coat boiling water needs to be poured over them replicating the role of fire. They then need to be soaked overnight so they can take on water before they can germinate. One of the limitations to cultivation of A. lineata is that being typically from dry areas and dry sites it would not like extended periods of inundation or boggy sites. As can be seen at the ANBG it performs very well in dry, well drained soils with very little additional water.
Like many acacias, A. lineata is killed off when hit by fire. However due to its enormous seed bank many small seedlings will sprout up with weeks afterwards and within a couple of years the population will be back to normal.
Acacia – generally believed to be from a Greek word meaning to sharpen, alluding to the prickliness of the first species discovered; another opinion refers to the 'Egyptian Thorn' (akakia) a species of Acacia yielding gum-arabic
lineata – from the Latin word meaning marked by fine parallel lines, presumably referring to the veins on the phyllodes
Text by Francis Carter (2010 Student Botanical Intern)
Photos: APII: a-6984 D.Greig, a-3453 M.Fagg
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Australian Native Plants Society ( Australia) (2009) Plant Propagation from seed. http://asgap.org.au/seed.html
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Taylor , D. (2010) ANBG Horticulturalist, pers. comm