Olive Pink Botanic Garden

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The Dead Finish (Acacia tetragonophylla) are often straggly looking shrub that can grown to about 2-3 metres high, with reports that it has been found growing up to 5 metres in height. With its spiny leaves, the shrub is a formidable shrub that often provides protection for nesting finches.

The name ‘Dead Finish’ is said to come from a saying that ‘when the cows start eating the Dead Finish bush, everything else has died’ or ‘in a bad drought, this is the last bush to die’.

The spiny leaves of Dead Finish (Acacia tetragonophylla) protect the nests of finches. Bird droppings found in abandoned nests are used for traditional medicinal treatments.

The tip of the leaves of the Dead Finish are shaped as a ‘four-angled leaflet’, making it sharp and very much like a thorn. The thorny part of the plant is said to have medicinal properties. Aboriginal people used it as a wart remover, in a painful procedure where up to six of thorns were inserted into the wart and left there until bleeding started. There is also the option to leave the thorny part in the wart, breaking off the main part of the leaflet. Usually the wart will have withered after 4-5 days and can be removed. The bark from roots is also steeped in water to make an antiseptic solution for treating sores.

Common name
Dead Finish. Aboriginal Arrernte name is Arlketyerre (pounounced: arl-KIT-chur-ra).



  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Clade: Rosids
  • Order: Fabales
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Clade: Mimosoideae
  • Genus: Acacia
  • Species: A. tetragonophylla
  • Binomial name: Acacia tetragonophylla

Footnote & References

  1. Dead finish or Prickly wattle, by Horst Weber, Australian plants online, http://anpsa.org.au/APOL14/jun99-2.html