Wattle

Wattle

The Wattle is an Australian icon — our floral emblem! — so here are my associations of this joyful native flower.

Origin: Australia

Family: Fabaceae
Clade: Mimosoideae
Tribe: Acacieae
Scientific Name: Acacia spp.

Folk Names: Jam tree, mulga, mimosa (Europe)
Indigenous (Noongar) Names:

  • Jam Wattle (Acacia acuminata): Mungart
  • Manna Wattle (Acacia microbotrya): Paadyang, mindalong, badjong, galyang, koonert, menna
  • Pukati (Acacia beauverdiana)
  • Red-Eyed Wattle (Acacia cyclops): Wilyawa, munyuret, woolya wah

Magical

Element: Air
Day: Sunday
Planet: Sun
Zodiac: Aquarius
Associated Celebrations: Quickening (Imbolc)

Magical Properties: Happiness, change, clarity, energy, healing, conscious mind, sleep, motherhood

Substitutions: Calendula, illyarrie, moodjar, niaouli

Botanical

Acacia is the largest genus of flowering plants in Australia.

The genus was originally named for Acacia nilotica (now Vachellia nilotica), native to Africa and the Middle East, however as of 2005 the African and American acacia species have been split into separate genus' under the tribe ‘Acacieae’. Of the ~960 species that remain Acacia, all but 14 are native to Australia, and over 500 are native to WA.

Type: Evergreen shrubs/trees
Plant size: 0.2-20m
Leaves: Foliage ranges in colour from light or dark green to blue or silver-grey, and are divided into leaflets or phyllodes (flattened stems).
Flowers: Arranged in globular or cylindrical inflorescences of 3-130 flowers. The flowers have 5 very small petals, and the colour (cream through to gold) comes from the long stamens.
Fruit: As part of the legume family, the fruits form as pods, with hard, dark-brown oval-shaped seeds.

Etymology: Acacia is derived from akakia, the name given by early Greek botanist-physician Pedanius Dioscorides in the first century to the medicinal tree Acacia nilotica in his book Materia Medica. This name derives from the Ancient Greek word for its characteristic thorns, akis (“thorn”).

Wattle comes from the Old English watul, which refers to the interwoven branches and sticks which formed fences, walls and roofs, due to the plants being used for this purpose by early Australian colonisers.

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