It’s easy to spot a native tree when it is in flower, and during March, the Sally Wattles (Acacia salicina) can be seen all over the Lockyer Valley, displaying their spherical cream/pale yellow flowers. Several Acacia species have the reputation for being short-lived, but the Sally wattle lives for many years and is a good sized tree, reaching up to fifteen metres. It has a lovely weeping habit, and I think it would be a great substitute for the exotic Weeping Willow tree.
Over the past five years, I’ve observed the fauna activity that occurs within the Sally Wattle and it’s impressive. The furrowed bark of the trunk provides habitat and hiding spots for an array of spiders, beetles, and other insects. A good bug supply will almost certainly attract many feathered friends, and I’ve witnessed many species, including Honeyeaters, Sitellas, Whistlers, Robins and Silvereyes to name a few, systematically cleaning the Sally Wattles of any insects they can find. Many birds will make repeat visits throughout the day.
The flower nectar is an attractant to birds and bees, and the pods that follow house shiny black seeds surrounded by an orange aril. Ants love to eat the aril, and the seed-eating birds will consume the seed.
The first revegetation work that I undertook on my property included planting underneath Sally Wattles. It is those understorey trees and shrubs which have really thrived, enjoying the partial shade and the nitrogen fixing qualities that the A. salicina trees provide. I’ve also attached a King Orchid (Dendrobium australasicum) in the fork of one of the wattles, and it is doing well.
You may have seen ball-shaped foliage hanging from our local Sally Wattles. It is a variety of Mistletoe (Amyema sp.), that uses A salicina as a host tree. The Mistletoe flowers attract the handsome and very vocal Mistletoebird, (Dicaeum hirundinaceum), during January and February.
In conclusion, the Sally Wattle is very beneficial to wildlife, and to surrounding flora, and requires minimal maintenance. It’s an overall winner!