#ThreatenedSpecies of the Week: Blunt Wattle

Acacia aprica, more commonly known as Blunt Wattle, is an open multi-stemmed shrub which typically grows up to 2m tall.

Its inflorescences are golden, globular to oblong and hang two per axil. The phyllodes are a dull medium-green, 6-14cm long and 1-1.4 mm wide. They have eight close parallel nerves, which are of more or less of equal width, while the seed pods are linear, up to 60 mm long and about 2mm wide.

Blunt Wattle.
Blunt Wattle.

The main threats to the Blunt Wattle are weed invasion, road and firebreak maintenance activities, chemical drift, grazing, and inappropriate fire regimes.

Sadly, the Acacia aprica is listed as ‘Endangered’ under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and as ‘Declared Rare Flora’ under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

A. aprica is closely related to A. filifolia, which has narrower, slightly incurved rounded-quadrangular phyllodes, ovate to lanceolate bracteoles and mottled seeds. It has also been confused with A. merinthophora, which it resembles in habit.

A. aprica is endemic to the Carnamah-Coorow area of Western Australia with a range of approximately 10 km. It is currently known from 263 plants from 8 natural populations.

Six of the extant populations are restricted to heavily disturbed linear road reserves, and one of about 100 plants is located in a small remnant on private land.

Of the six road reserve populations, five consist of 10 plants or less. The species is found on gravely brown clayey sand, often with surface quartz. Associated species include Allocasuarina campestris, Acacia acuminata, Grevillea paniculata and Hakea scoparia.

The species appears to be a disturbance opportunist often occupying tracks and fire breaks. Studies indicate that seeds are patchily distributed in the soil and that germinations is increased by scarification or exposure to heat. It has been demonstrated that experimental fires can break seed dormancy and promote germination.

Information Source: Government of Australia, Department of Environment and Department of Parks and Wildlife Western Australia

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