Cootamundra Wattle

Acacia baileyana

Family: Fabaceae/Mimosaceae

Type of weed:

Flowering Months: , , , ,

Description

A shrub or small tree 4–8 m high. Branchlets have a waxy coating.

Leaves are ‘feathery’, bipinnate (twice divided), silvery-blue to blue-green in colour and crowded on the stem.

It has many spike-like clusters of bright yellow, fluffy, fragrant flower heads. It flowers winter to early spring.

The plant produces many pods that are flattish and mature to brown or black. Seeds are long lived in the soil.

Note: Cootamundra Wattle is a native plant originating in the Cootamundra-Wagga Wagga area (southern NSW), but has become invasive outside its original range. It is often mistaken for local wattles and planted in gardens.

Don’t confuse with…

Cootamundra Wattle can be confused with similar local native bipinnate wattles such as Acacia parramattensis in the lower Mountains and Acacia terminalis in the mid to upper Mountains.

Dispersal

Seed is dispersed by birds, ants, machinery and in dumped garden waste.

Impact on bushland

Cootamundra Wattle is fast growing and a prolific producer of seeds. It moves into intact bushland displacing local wattles. Some infestations are scattered. Where it forms dense stands, it shades out local native plants. It also fixes nitrogen in the soil, making it unsuitable for the germination of many native plants.

Distribution

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Alternative planting

Native plants

Plant local native wattles such as:

  • Acacia parramattensis
  • Black Wattle (Acacia decurrens)
  • Sydney Golden Wattle (Acacia longifolia)
  • Sunshine Wattle (Acacia terminalis)
  • Prickly Moses (Acacia ulicifolia)

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.

Control

Because the seeds are bird spread, treat plants before they fruit. Bag and remove all pods. Seedlings and small plants are easily hand-pulled. Cut and paint or stem inject young plants. Stem inject large trees with herbicide.

For more info

For key points on these techniques: