Cape wattle (Paraserianthes lophantha, formerly Albizia lophantha) is a straggly evergreen shrub or small tree to 8m high, but usually smaller, belonging to the Fabaceae family. The twigs are slightly ribbed, with the narrow raised ribs running down the stem from the base of each leaf. Leaves are compound, of numerous small leaflets similar to those of some wattles (Acacia species), but bigger than those of most south coast wattles.
The yellowish-green flowers are also wattle-like, but are carried in bottlebrush style clusters. The pods are broad and flat, 8-12 cm long, containing 6-12 black shiny seeds, and are very similar to those of wattles. The tree flowers from an early age and because of its quick growing habit makes good cover for other species.
Cape wattle is a West Australian native which has been widely promoted as a garden plant in the last twenty years or so. It is now extensively naturalised in eastern Australia, where it invades bush around towns and gardens. It can become dominant in bush and coastal woodland. It is a very fast growing plant tolerant of poor soils, and adapted to recolonising from seed after fires.
Spread from seed in dumped garden waste, and by birds, ants and in contaminated soil and water. Like the true wattles, cape wattle produces huge seed crops, which are very long-lived in the soil. They are likely to germinate profusely after fire, so that they can go from being a minor weed to becoming dominant in burnt bush, if there is no control effort after a fire.
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Friday Greens meme.