Black wattle

Acacia mearnsii
Black wattle: Acacia mearnsii Black wattle: Acacia mearnsii

Common name:

Black wattle

Scientific name:

Acacia mearnsii (Fabaceae)

Alternative common names:

Swartwattel (Afrikaans)

An evergreen tree growing 5-10m high, black wattle has dark olive-green finely hairy leaves. Pale yellow or cream spherical flowers in large fragrant sprays blooming from August to September. Fruits are dark brown, finely haired pods.

Black wattle has invaded grasslands, competing with and reducing indigenous species, and reducing grazing land for wild and domestic animals.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    South-eastern Australia and Tasmania

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    Existing legislation: CARA 2002 – Category 2 NEMBA – Category 2

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Widespread throughout the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Mpumalanga and Gauteng

    How does it spread?

    Seed dispersal

    Why is it a problem?

    Competes with and replaces indigenous grassland and riverine species. Grasslands are invaded by dense thickets of black wattle, which reduced the grazing area for domestic and wild animals.

    What does it look like?

    Description: An evergreen tree growing 5-10m high, black wattle has dark olive-green finely hairy leaves. Bark: Rough, greyish bark Leaves: Dark olive-green short leaflets (1.5-4.0mm), with fine hairs. Flowers: Small pale yellow to cream, globe-shaped flowers in large, fragrant sprays, August to September. Fruit/seeds: Finely haired, dark brown pods.

    Does the plant have any uses?

    Firewood

    Plant me instead alternatives

    Weeping wattle (Peltophorum africanum), hook thorn acacia (Acacia caffra), karee (Rhus lancea), mountain karee (Rhus leptodactyla)