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Golden Wattle

Learn about the Golden Wattle of Australia, on this Focus on Flowers.

A golden wattle plant.

Photo: Amy Dianna (Flickr)

The golden wattle

Acacia pycnantha is native to Australia where it is known as Golden Wattle. It grows as a shrub or small tree. The genus Acacia has more than 900 species.  During Springtime in Australia, and indeed in all parts of the southern hemisphere, wattles are covered with bunches of fluffy yellow balls of flowers.

Later, the seeds grow inside a brown pod, which splits open along one side to release them. Fire does not damage the seeds.

And acacias, which grow mainly in the wild in frost free areas of the world, actually regenerate after bush fires. In some warm areas of the world, such as South Africa, acacias have become classified as pests because of this amazing regenerative power.

Coat Of Arms

Golden wattle is featured as part of Australia’s coat of arms, and its colors green and gold, were adopted as the nation’s national colors. You may have seen the Australian athletes on T.V. wearing green and gold at the Olympic Games. To the chagrin of many airborne allergy sufferers, wattle flowers contain lots of pollen.

However, the flowers are still cherished as a national symbol, and the first of many Australian postage stamps to feature them was issued in 1913. It took awhile, however, before wattle was officially proclaimed as the national flower.

Establishment As National Flower

Early colonists did not value native plants and tried valiantly to grow the flowers they had grown up with in England.

It took them until 1988 to finally realize that the Australian climate made it impossible to faithfully recreate English landscapes. At that time, to celebrate the country’s bicentennial, wattle was finally designated as the national flower.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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