The acacias, also commonly known as the wattles or mimosas, comprise a large genus of Australasian trees and shrubs. There are a few species which in mild coastal areas of the northern hemisphere will make small garden trees, interesting in their variable evergreen foliage and often spectacular in their early spring flower. The hardiest species are successful in warm sheltered coastal districts especially when grown against south or west-facing walls. In their native Australia and in the Mediterranean countries, they may make bushy-headed trees of medium or large size. The acacias grow well in most well-drained soils but will be short lived with yellowing foliage on shallow chalky soils.
The best-known and most widely planted species is Acacia dealbata, the silver wattle, with its finely divided fernlike leaves and young shoots, both covered with a silvery down against which are seen myriads of ball-like, fragrant, yellow flowers — a perfect association. Forms of this species are the popular florists’ mimosa.
The Sydney golden wattle, A. longifolia, is quite distinct with its long lance-like leaves or phyllodes. Cylindrical spikes of bright yellow flowers are produced in the axils of the leaves. This is one of the hardiest and also one of the most lime-tolerant species.