How to distinguish Cootamundra Wattle from the look-a-like native Silver Wattle

Cootamundra Wattle leaf

The Cootamundra Wattle, Acacia baileyana is an introduced and highly invasive species; the Silver Wattle, Acacia dealbata is native to Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie. Both wattles have blueish-grey-green leaves and flower early in spring.

They can be distinguished readily by their leaves.

The compound leaves are called bipinnate leaves: pairs of leaflets or pinnae (singular: pinna) are arranged along the main leaf stem (rhachis), and pairs of pinnules – the smallest unit of the compound leaf – are arranged along the stem of a pinna. The bipinnate leaves of Cootamundra wattles have 3-4 pairs of pinnae, the lowest pair is shorter, swept back and embraces the stem to which the leaf is attached. The bipinnate leaves of Silver wattles have 8-20 pairs of pinnae attached to the rhachis; the lowest pair is not swept back.

Silver Wattle leaf

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