Acacia kettlewelliae Maiden

Buffalo Wattle

J. & Proc. Roy. Soc. New South Wales 49: 484 (1916) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Bushy shrub or tree, usually 2–10 m high; branchlets angled at extremities, glabrous. Phyllodes on raised stem projections, narrowly elliptic to narrowly oblanceolate, usually 4–10 cm long, 3–10 mm wide, minutely mucronate, thin, green to glaucous, glabrous except for adaxial side of pulvinus which is usually sparsely hairy; midrib prominent, lateral veins obscure; gland submerged and swollen within the lamina, orifice at distal end of gland and usually downward-pointing, mostly 5–15 mm above pulvinus. Racemes prolific in upper axils, rachis usually 1–7 cm long, usually glabrous; peduncles 2–4 mm long, usually glabrous; heads globular, usually 8–11-flowered, bright light golden. Flowers 5-merous; sepals united; ovary usually glabrous. Pods 5–10 cm long, 8–14 mm wide, firmly chartaceous, dehiscing unilaterally, glabrous, sometimes pruinose; seeds usually longitudinal to oblique, oblong-elliptic to ovate, 4–5 mm long, somewhat dull, black, aril clavate. Flowers Sep.–Nov.

CVU, EGU, HNF, HSF, MonT, NIS, SnM, VAlp, VRiv. Also NSW. Occurs in the Great Dividing Range from the Southern Tablelands in New South Wales through to Mt Buffalo. Mostly in high-altitude montane forest, but also growing on lower slopes and near streams. Collections in MEL labelled 'Grampians Mountains' and 'Mt La Trobe [Wilsons Promontory]' are presumably in error or plantings.

The taxonomic status of A. oreophila Maiden & Blakeley and A. walteri Maiden & Blakeley require further investigation. Although Willis (1957, 1973) regarded them as conspecific with A. kettlewelliae, the types differ from A. kettlewelliae in their densely hairy ovaries and more numerous flowers per head. In addition, in A. oreophila the phyllode gland is pustulate and exserted with a minute central orifice, while in A. walteri there are 1-3 glands which, although somewhat similar to those of A. kettlewelliae, have a larger orifice not pointing downwards.

2 variants of A. kettlewelliae may be evident in the field. On drier woodland sites the species is a shrub c. 2 m high, with short, narrow (to c. 5 mm wide), slatey grey-green to glaucous phyllodes; this variant may resemble A. boormanii subsp. gibba. In wetter forests it can be a shrub or small tree to 10 m high, with long, broad (to 10 mm wide), olive-green to sage dark green phyllodes.

Hybrids with Acacia pravissima occur at Paradise Falls near Whitfield.

Source: Entwisle, T.J.; Maslin, B.R.; Cowan, R.S.; Court, A.B. (1996). Mimosaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2019-12-20

Willis, J.H. (1973). A handbook to plants in Victoria, Melbourne University Press, Carlton.

Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Fabales
family Fabaceae
genus Acacia
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Acacia kettlewelliae in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Acacia kettlewelliae in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Riverina present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory