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Winter wattles at La Trobe University

Some botanical beauties to warm you this winter!

Those of you who work or study in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne may have been lucky enough to pass-by or visit the beautiful Bundoora campus of La Trobe University (or the neighbouring parks) this week.

If so, you’d have been in for a real treat as the splendid wattles (Acacia) have come into flower.

I have said it before and I shall say it again: I love wattles. It is truly a highlight of the Australian winter to see these splendid shrubs and trees come into bloom at a time when little else is flowering.

This past week  I have made a special point of taking a walk at lunch time (with my camera in hand) to photograph the lovely specimens on show. All photos were shot using a Canon EFS 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens.

Looking at these photos, you will hopefully come to appreciate the diversity of floral and foliar forms that are exhibited by this genus of 1200 species. Species may have pinnate leaves or bipinnate leave or in the case of plants with phyllodes, no leaves at all! Flowers may be circular or ‘rod’-shaped and range from vivid yellow to almost white. (A red species is also available commercially). Wattles also range in form from ground covers to massive trees.

I have not photographed every species on campus (some are yet to flower), but these are the highlights so far:

Acacia decurrens

This is one of the most common species on campus. This particular one was seen on the Ring Road, near the AgriBio centre.


Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle)

This is Australia’s floral emblem, but there are relatively few growing at La Trobe University. This specimen was seen on the edge of the campus near the sports fields and lake.

Acacia sophorae

Growing adjacent to the front entrance of the university on Kingsbury Drive, this species has the richest yellow flowers of all.


Acacia prominens

This specimen is growing near some reserved land on Ring Road near the Agribio centre, but others have been planted on campus. The colour of these flowers is paler and the sprays more delicate than some of the other species.


Acacia pravissima

I like the reddish stems on this species, as well as the tiny triangle-shaped leaves. This species can be seen flowering on the road verge of Kingsbury Drive, just beside the Waterdale Apartments.


Acacia longifolia subsp. longifolia

The pale colour of these dense flowers is what makes this species stand out. Like A. pravissima above, I also spotted this plant growing on the road verge of Kingsbury Drive.


Acacia floribunda

Seen growing beside the Kingsbury Drive entrance to the the Waterdale Apartments, the soft and delicate sprays of pale flowers are complimented by this species’ narrow deep-green leaves.


Acacia acinacea

The Gold Dust wattle is a superb shrub that barely exceeds 1.2 metres when mature. This specimen is part of a hedgerow planted in front of the Hexima glasshouses at the very end of Park Drive in the Research and Development Park. The flowers of this species are so tiny!


Acacia mearnsii

There are just a few of these on campus, but this specimen was spotted growing beside the Darebin Creek in the park lands immediately west of La Trobe University.


Those are the highlights. As more species come into flower, stay focussed on my Flickr stream for the latest photos.



2 responses to “Winter wattles at La Trobe University”

  • Written by isobel on 7 August 2012:

    I have enjoyed your daily postings of Wattle photos on Flickr and the combination of descriptions and beautiful golden wattle pictures in your blog, makes pleasant reading—and looking. Thank you for details of each type of these lovely shrubs/trees, how very lucky to be able to see this array on a daily basis. For those of us not so lucky, it is a pleasure indeed to once again read your informative article—looking forward to the next photo on Flickr

  • Written by James on 2 June 2013:

    I have just noticed a (from mid May, 2013) winter flowering wattle where I live at Jam Jerrup about 100km SE of Melbourne off Bass Highway on Westernport. Searching the database I have concluded it is Acacia iteaphylla or the Winter Wattle.

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