To the general public, the genus Acacia are are commonly known as wattles or acacias. The genus comprises a large group of shrubs and trees. It includes a group of plant genera native to Africa and Australasia. The genus name is New Latin from the Greek word for ‘thorn‘, that is typical of many species originally included in the genus.

It was in the early 2000s when it became evident that the genus as it stood was not monophyletic, which meant that several divergent lineages needed to be placed in separate genera.

Monophyletic, or monophylogeny, describes a group of organisms that are classified in the same taxon and share a most common recent ancestor. A monophyletic group, sometimes called a clade, includes all the descendants of that most common recent ancestor.

Round-leaf Wattle (Acacia strongylophylla)
Round-leaf Wattle (Acacia strongylophylla) © Greg Sully

More in-depth information can be found in publications and online. Some suggested resources are detailed in the Footnote & References below.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Clade: Rosids
  • Order: Fabales
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Clade: Mimosoideae
  • Tribe: Acacieae
  • Genus: Acacia

Footnote & References

  1. Wikipedia contributors, ‘Acacia’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 November 2020, 04:07 UTC, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Acacia&oldid=987607881 [accessed 19 November 2020]
  2. Wattle – Acacias of Australia https://apps.lucidcentral.org/wattle/text/intro/index.html