Plant of the day: everblooming acacia

Acacia_retinoides1I never knew there were so many different types of acacia! But there are, and it seems like they are all in bloom at once. Today’s plant is everblooming acacia (Acacia retinoides). This is in the pom-pom tribe–whereas the others that I’ve written about so far are in the bottle brush tribe. The flowers of everblooming acacia are tiny yellow balls of fluff. But be warned–it has cousins with very similar-looking flowers, so you need to look at the leaves to be sure which species you are seeing. Everblooming acacia has blade-shaped leaves with one prominent central vein. Except, just to confuse you, the “leaves” of almost all acacia trees are actually phyllodes–modified petioles (usually just the leaf stem) that have morphed to look like full-blown leaves. For this reason, in the key the central vein is actually called a “nerve”, which is its technically correct name.

Like the other acacias, this species is native to Australia and has naturalized into the semi-wild places near town. Unlike some species, it isn’t highly invasive and doesn’t spread far from where a parent plant once was planted–but it can be weedy on a local scale.

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