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Photographer: B.R. Maslin
Photographer: B.R. Maslin
Photographer: B.R. Maslin
Seed from one herbarium voucher. Scale in mm. Photographer: F. McCallum.
Acacia maitlandii F. Muell., Fragm. 3: 46 (1862)
Maitland's Wattle (preferred common name) and Spiky Wattle
Garrga (Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi) and Jumbingkar or Jumpingkar (Kurrama)
Erect, glabrous shrubs often about 1-2 m but can reach 4 m outside the Pilbara, single-stemmed or with several main stems from the base, typically rather straggly, spindly and openly branched with phyllodes concentrated towards ends of branches, rather bushy in some regrowth situations and in well-watered sites along creeks. Bark grey, thin, smooth. Branchlets red-brown, resinous-viscid (i.e. sticky), lenticellate, scarred where phyllodes have fallen. New shoots light green, resinous (but neither sticky or aromatic). Stipules persistent, erect, minute (0.5-1.5 mm long), often embedded in resin. Phyllodes ±asymmetrically narrowly elliptic to oblong-elliptic or oblong-obovate, (6-) 7-25 (-30) mm long and (1.5-) 2-4 (-5) mm wide, rigid, rather wide-spreading, straight or almost so, flat, slightly shiny, mid-green to dark green; with a single longitudinal nerve on each face, very rarely a faint second nerve parallel to midrib; lateral nerves obscure or absent; gradually or abruptly obliquely narrowed at apex and ending in a slender, very sharp, rigid point. Inflorescences simple, single within axil of phyllodes; peduncles straight, spreading and often exceeding the phyllodes, yellow, (8-) 10-20 (-25) mm long; basal peduncular bracts absent; heads showy, globular, about 9 mm in diameter when fresh, light golden to mid-golden, with 50-60 (-90) densely arranged flowers. Flowers mostly 5-merous; sepals free, linear-spathulate. Pods pendulous, linear to narrowly oblong, rounded over seeds and not or only slightly constricted between them, 2-4.5 (-7.5) cm long, (3-) 4-5 (-10) mm wide, firmly chartaceous to very thinly crustaceous, (dehisced valves break readily upon bending), straight or shallowly to prominently curved (sometimes into an open circle) or irregularly sigmoid, somewhat viscid when young, slightly shiny, brown. Seeds longitudinal in the pods, widely ellipsoid-ovoid to ± globose, 3.5-4.5 mm long, dull (not shiny), dark brown or dark greyish brown to blackish, with (often few) cream-coloured mottlings and a narrow band of cream-coloured tissue bordering the central pleurogram and around the periphery of the seed; funicle thread-like and not expanded into an aril.
Erect, glabrous, openly branched shrubs. Branchlets red-brown, resinous-viscid, scarred where phyllodes have fallen, lenticellate. Stipules persistent, minute (0.5-1.5 mm long), erect, often embedded in resin. Phyllodes small (mostly 7-25 x 2-4 mm), wide-spreading, 1-nerved, very sharp-pointed. Inflorescences simple; peduncles long (mostly 10-20 mm, often exceeding the phyllodes); heads globular, golden, densely many-flowered (mostly 50-60). Pods papery. Seeds slightly mottled, funicle thread-like and not expanded into an aril.
Widespread in arid Australia where it extends from the Pilbara south to Mt Augustus in Western Australia to the western margin of the Simpson Desert (Northern Territory) and the Serpentine Lakes area (far north-west South Australia); further east it occurs from near Windorah and Jericho (Queensland) south to near Enngonia (northern New South Wales). Acacia maitlandii is widespread in the Pilbara where it is commonly found in rocky areas, often along creeks.
Pilbara plants flowers from May to August and pods with mature seed have been collected in September and October. Latz (1999) reports that in central Australia this species flowers after rain, except when it falls in mid-summer.
Maitland's Wattle is rather variable in its phyllode shape and size. A specimen with atypically broad pods (about 10 mm wide) is recorded for the Carnarvon Range, about 150 km south of the Pilbara region. Specimens with very small phyllodes and formerly referred to A. maitlandii are now described as A. minutissima and A. subtiliformis. Specimens with narrow, slender phyllodes and formerly referred to A. maitlandii are now described as A. walkeri.
Acacia maitlandii regenerates from a woody root-stock following cool fire but is killed by hot fire.
This species is not grazed by stock.
Although A. maitlandii is not known in cultivation it may possibly be useful as an ornamental suitable for rockery planting in dry inland areas. It should be pruned after flowering (Simmons 1988).
Pilbara indigenous peoples collected the edible red gum from plants of A. maitlandii. Latz (1999) reports that at least some traditional central Australian Aboriginal people eat the seed of this species (it is ground into a paste then cooked according to Cleland 1966); grubs in its roots are eaten and the wood is sometimes used for spears.
Not considered rare or endangered.
This species is named for Maitland Brown (1843-1905), Western Australian explorer, squatter and public servant (see Hall 1984 for biographical details). In 1861 Maitland Brown was one of the botanical collectors on the F.T. Gregory expedition to northwestern Australia (Pemberton Walcott was the other collector on this expedition). During this trip Maitland Brown collected specimens of what is now called A. maitlandii from the Hamersley Range and these found their way to the National Herbarium in Melbourne where Baron von Mueller used them to publish the original description of the species in 1862. Mueller also commemorated F.T. Gregory by naming A. gregorii after him; this species also occurs in the Pilbara.
Cleland, J.B. (1966). The Ecology of the Aboriginal in South and Central Australia. pp. 111-158. In: B.C. Cotton (ed.) Aboriginal Man in South and Central Australia (Government Printer: Adelaide.)
Hall, N. (1984). Botanists of Australian Acacias. pp. 64. (CSIRO: Melbourne.)
Latz, P.K. (1999). Pocket Bushtucker: a field guide to the plants of Central Australia and their traditional uses. pp. 215. (IAD Press: Alice Springs.)
Simmons, M.H. (1988). Acacias of Australia. Volume 2. pp. 319. (Viking O'Neil, Penguin Books Australia Ltd: Melbourne.)