Allan Cunningham ex George Don 1832
Gosford Wattle, Golden Rain Wattle
Although Acacia prominens is called the Gosford Wattle it is endemic north of the Hawkesbury River right up the north coast of New South Wales. It is not too fussy about soil or position except that it prefers an open situation, such as on the edges of bushland or alongside roads; indeed flowering trees are very visible from June to October along the edge of the F4 freeway heading north from Sydney, as they glow in the sunshine and stand out from the green of the bush behind. It is a very beautiful, much loved large shrub or small tree and has been widely planted in parks and gardens.
One major drawback to life as a garden shrub is that it is fast growing - but short-lived. It quickly reaches 15 metres or so, flowers beautifully for a few years and then drops dead, almost overnight. This tendency makes it a useful tree for country properties because the wood is dense and burns exceptionally fiercely, thus keeping all those reliant on timber for warmth very warm indeed, without actually having to specifically fell a tree for that purpose. Of course that causes a problem during bushfire prone months when there is a lot of fallen debris around, as there so often is with this particular wattle.
Foliage consists of grey green phyllodes. These are 2 to 6 cm long, (much longer than they are wide), usually narrow lanceolate but sometimes with a slight sickle shape. Whilst the mid-vein is obvious, the name for this wattle comes from the prominent gland on the margin, about a ¼ way up the phyllode from the stem.
The trunk is smooth, often blackened, but more usually pale grey with whitish blotches.
The flowers are lemon-yellow to golden yellow, sweetly scented and globular. They are borne in racemes of 8 – 15 conspicuously outside the foliage, right near the ends of the branchlets. The individual balls are tiny but they make up for their size by sheer weight of numbers and can completely cover the canopy.
The following seedpods are attractive too; they are flat with a blueish colouring, slightly constricted between the seeds. As they ripen they turn brown and fall.
Beneath the trees there are always young seedlings coming up to take over as the mature specimens die off after several years.
The plant is a foodplant of several caterpillar species, including:
Flowers in Australia
(updated 4 September 2008)