Acacia pycnantha




pronounced: mim-oh-SAY-see-eye

the wattle family


This is often regarded as Mimosoideae, a sub-family of Fabaceae. I have chosen to retain it as a family in its own right, to honour our wonderful Australian wattle trees. The Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) is Australia's official floral emblem.

Mimosa comes from the Greek μιμος (mimos), an imitator, mimic, because of the movement of the leaves. The family is characterized by flowers with small petals and numerous prominent stamens, mostly 10 or more. The leaves are nearly always alternate, stipulate, and bipinnately compound (rarely once-pinnate). They usually have swollen petiole bases that can function in the orientation of the leaves (e.g. in Mimosa pudica). The pistil is simple, consisting of a single style and stigma, and a superior ovary with at least 2 ovules in a single locule. The fruit is usually a pod.


Photograph by Melburnian (own work) via Wikimedia Commons.