Fabaceae: Pea Family — Acacia / Wattle
Acacias are all Australian natives, widely planted but sometimes invasive. They are simultaneously enjoyed for their brilliant yellow spring flowers, and cursed by those who are allergic to their pollen. For identification, it is helpful to note that flowers tend to be either spherical or cylindrical. Also, leaves are sometimes compound but mostly simple, with the simple leaves varying in shape and number of veins. Strictly speaking, Acacia leaves do not have separate blades. What appear to be blades are in fact expanded and flattened petioles. This explains why they can have longitudinal veins, a characteristic normally confined to monocots such as lilies, irises and orchids. For simplicity, the descriptions of the plants below will ignore this technical nicety.