Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wattle Day - Woodmans Acacia

September 1st is Wattle Day - 

huzzah - 

So I'm using this day to profile a little wattle battler - Woodman's Acacia or Acacia woodmaniorum. This shrub straggles its way over the banded iron formation (BIF) ranges near the Blue Hills, in the midwest of Western Australia. This is this only place where it grows, miles away from  its presumed closest relative (Acacia alata var. biglandulosa). The description is here.

It has angular stems and flattened phyllodes which are decurrent along the stems of branchlets  - making this another winged wattle. The flowers are bunched in solitary little pom-pom inflorescences which pop out of the stems on moderately long peduncles. Despite the 'leafy, green' appearance, this plant packs of punch of spines on the phyllode tips.

Named after the three Woodman brothers of local botanical fame in Western Australia , this wattle was named and declared rare as soon as surveys in the midwest established that it was new and very restricted in distribution. The greates threats this little hardy acacia faces is open cast iron ore mining, since its preferred habitat is atop the haemtite-rich hills of BIF. It will pop up in crush rock spoils, to a degree.

This species shares it habitat with other interesting and plants like the Drummondita fulva (endemic to the Blue Hills - Yalgoo region), Rhodanthe collina and generally splendid and species rich Acacia - Melaleuca nematophylla shrublands, rich heaths and stands of Callitris columellaris on rocky hillslopes and ridge tops.

Given how incrediblely flat the general midwest region is - these are truely outstanding landforms with differnet plants and communities on the tops from the vast surrounds of seemingly endless mulga - bowgada shrublands.