Now flowering in Rotunda Park

Rotunda Park is looking great at the moment and it’s wonderful to see the fruits of Landcare labours. The Silver Wattle Acacia dealbata pictured below is bearing a mass of flowers, bound to attract interest from insects, small birds and Sugar Gliders. This specimen was part of a recent Landcare planting (about three years back I think) that has brought some much needed understorey back into this special local remnant.

Silver Wattle in flower - Rotunda Park, Newstead, 8th August 2009

Silver Wattle in flower - Rotunda Park, Newstead, 8th August 2009

One response to “Now flowering in Rotunda Park

  1. I am going to have a close look at all the Silver Wattles we planted in Rotunda Park. The seed I collected to grow those seedlings (and some planted at my own place at around the same time)was from naturally occurring specimens in the Loddon River at Newstead. Alas now that they are mature I can see that one specimen I planted at my place looks like a hybrid bewteen SILVER WATTLE Acacia dealbata and COOTAMUNDRA WATTLE Acacia baileyana. I will be cutting down the hybrid on my place and if I identify any in Rotunda Park I think they should be cut down too (will discuss with our Landcare group if any are found).

    When I collect seed I can only be sure of one parent. The flowers on the indigenous Newstead Silver Wattles that I collected seed from in December must have been pollinated (6 months earlier, in July) by pollen from flowers on a Cootamundra Wattle. The latter is a species from NSW, planted in Newstead gardens.

    Cootamundra Wattle is a beautiful plant, but it is problematic when planted in our area because it can become a weed, the seeds being spread by birds and possibly ants into bushland areas where it displaces our local species, and by hybridising with our local Silver Wattle it interferes with the genetic integrity of our natural heritage.

    If anyone is unsure about whether they have Silver Wattles or Cootamundra Wattles on their property the best way to distuinguish them is to look at the numbers of pairs of pinnae on each bipinnate leaf. Silver Wattle has 8 to 20 pairs (with each pinnae having 20 to 40 pairs of leaflets), while Cootamundra Wattle has only 2 to 6 pairs of pinnae (with each pinnae having 10 to 24 pairs of leaflets).

    The NCCMA has produced a leaflet with coloured illustrations describing 3 local bipinnate wattles (Silver Wattle, Late Black Wattle and Deane’s WAttle)and how to distinguish them from 2 ‘weedy’ ones (Early Black Wattle and Cootamundra Wattle, both indigenous to NSW). If anyone needs a copy of that leaflet call me on (03) 5476 2691 or Geoff may be able to put the content of the leaflet on this website.

    The leaflet does not discuss or illustrate hybrids, but Leon Costerman’s excellent book the “Native Trees and Shrubs of South-eastern Australia” says Cootamundra Wattle is known to hybridise with Silver Wattle and Early Black Wattle.

    TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Be careful what you plant!

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