Golden Wattle is the national flower of Australia. Acacia pycnantha is the scientific name of Golden Wattle and it is commonly known as Wattle in Australia. The standard name Acacia is derived from the Greek word ‘akis’, which means a point (referring to the prickly leaves of some species; pycnantha from the Greek word ‘pyknos’, meaning ‘dense’, and ‘anthos’, meaning ‘a flower’ (refers to the dense clusters of flowers).
There are more than 900 species of Acacia in Australia, and it makes them the largest genus in the Australian flora. Acacia pycnantha enjoyed popular acceptance as Australia’s national flower for much of this century but it was not proclaimed as the national floral emblem until 1988, the year of Australia’s bicentenary.
Facts about Australia’s National Flower (Golden Wattle)
- Common Name: Golden Wattle
- Genus: Acacia
- Species: pycnantha
- Found in: Southeastern Australia
- Color: Yellow
- Number of petals: 5 petals
- Time of blooming: late winter and spring
- Purpose: Ornamental tree
- Symbolism: Beginning of spring
Golden Wattle is the favorite national flower symbol of the Australian people. Acacia pycnantha, commonly known as the golden wattle, is a tree of the family Fabaceae native to southeastern Australia. Acacia pycnantha, Golden Wattle, is a shrub or small tree about 4 to 8 meters tall. After the sapling stage, true leaves become non-existent and their functions are performed by phyllodes which are modified flattened leaf stalks lacking leaf blades. The leathery phyllodes are 6 to 20 cm long, broadly lance or sickle-shaped and bright green in color.
In spring large fluffy golden-yellow flower-heads with up to eighty minute sweetly scented flowers provide a vibrant contrast with the foliage. The dark brown mature fruit, 7 to 12 cm long, splits along one side to release the seeds. The prolific fragrant, golden flowers appear generally in late winter and spring, followed by long seed pods. It is found in the understory of open eucalypt forests on dry, shallow soils.
Autralia’s Acacias vary in size but have a distinctive yellow colouring. Most of the species flower during the end of winter or the beginning of spring. The most common Acacia, the Golden Wattle (Arcacias pycnantha) is found in the South Eastern parts of Australia, and the hotter and drier climates. The scented flowers have been used for perfume making and honey production in humid areas.
The golden wattle emblem reminds the quintessential Aussie of the wattle seed cakes, biscuits and ice creams. For others, it could stir up images of the transition from winter to spring when its bright yellow flowers begin to bloom. The view of the yellow flowers at that time is certainly a sight for the sore eyes. The green and gold colors used by Australian international sporting teams were inspired by the colors of wattles in general, rather than the golden wattle specifically. The Golden Wattles are of various uses.
Traditionally, its seeds are eaten, its wood is used to make spears and boomerangs and its leaves and bark for stupefying and catching fish. In the earlier times, its smoke was also used for its healing properties, such as curing diarrhoea and healing reddened skin. Among the many benefits of acacia that are being investigated is its ability to produce an anti-cancer compound that has shown signs of being able to inhibit the growth of tumors. There have also been plans to export Australia’s wattle to Africa as a drought-resistant protein source.
To sum up, Golden Wattle is the people’s favorite national flower of Australia. Although it is an unofficial national symbol of Australia, it outstandingly represents and glorifies the spirit of Australian culture.