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Soap Wattle or Cole’s Wattle
Characteristics: Sprearding shrub 2-4 m
Seeds per packets: Approx 25
An adaptable hardy spreading shrub with large broad foliage that produces attractive twisted seed pods and bright yellow flowers which occur from May to September, being more prolific in the latter months.
The indigenous people used the sticky and unripe pods that when crushed and moistened were rubbed between the palms of their hands to produce a soap-like lather which removed dirt and cleaned their hands.
A widespread species of northern Australia that extends from the Pilbara and southern Kimberley region of Western Australia across the Great Sandy and Tanami Deserts of the Northern Territory into North-western Queensland.
Well suited to harsh climates, in more favourable condition it can grow as a small tree to 9 metres.
Prefer a light to medium well-drained soil in an open sunny position. Drought tolerant but frost tender.
Although seed can be sown most of the year in Australia seed is generally best sown in spring or autumn in temperate climates, avoid the coldest and hottest months of the year. The optimum germination temperature for germination is around 18-22°C.
Acacia seeds germinate readily, however they do have a hard outer coating which is impervious to water and generally germination will normally not occur unless the seed is scarified by abrading or pre-treated with boiling water first.
General note: Seeds of many natives are dormant and require specific conditions or pre-treatment for germination.
Do not be too hasty to discard seed that does not germinate, seeds will often lay dormant until the conditions are similar to their natural requirements for germination to occur. Containers put to one side will often surprise long after they were discarded.