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Acacia irrorata (MIMOSACEAE) Green Wattle, Blueskin

Image: Foliage

PHOTO: Robert Whyte

Large shrub or small tree 5 to 10m in the warmer, humid areas in the coastal belt from south-eastern Queensland to southern New South Wales. Extends inland to the NSW tablelands. Subspecies velutinella (velvety) is found in NSW coastal areas. Grows on heavier soils. Best growth is in moist, well-drained, relatively fertile flats along watercourses.

Branchlets green, sometimes exude resin.

Foliage is bipinnate, meaning divided twice. Young leaves can be orange-brown.

Flowers are yellow (lemon yellow to golden yellow) puffballs. Pods have sparse hairs, bumps where seeds are, usually up to 6 cm long, and .5 to one cm wide.

Flowers November - February, seeds 7-9 months later. 100 000 viable seeds per kilogram. Boiling water for one minute promotes germination.

Image: Foliage closeup

Photo: Robert Whyte

Originally we thought this was Acacia Oshanesii (similar looking) but the location is not in its range.

Host Plant for Moonlight Jewel (Hypochrysops delicia) - caterpillar is brown and hairy, with a dark dorsal stripe, and diagonal markings. It has a black head, and dark shiny plates on the thorax and on the eighth abdominal segment. It is usually attended by the small black ants. By day it hides under bark or a borehole, or is taken by the ants into their nest. By night it emerges, often herded out by the ants, to feed.

Also host for Tailed Emperor (Polyura sempronius), Emerald Hairstreak (Jalmens daemeli), Common Imperial Hairstreak (Jalmenus evagoras evagoras), Stencilled Hairstreak (Jalmenus ictinus), Silky Hairstreak (Pseudalmenus chlorinda), Double-spotted Line-blue (Nacaduba biocellata).

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