Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Vulnerable
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice for Acacia constablei (Narrabarba Wattle) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2014bp) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, the approved conservation advice for the species provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against key threats (29/04/2014).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NSW:Narrabarba Wattle - profile (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2005b) [Internet].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Vulnerable (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list)
Scientific name Acacia constablei [10798]
Family Fabaceae:Fabales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Tind.
Infraspecies author  
Reference Telopea 1 (Mar. 1980) 429, t. XVIII.
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Other illustrations Google Images

The Narrabarba Wattle is an erect or spreading shrub or small tree, with pale yellow to white/cream flower heads. Individuals are generally 1-3 m in height, but can grow to 7 m in sheltered situations (Orchard & Wilson 2001 cited in TSSC 2014bp).

The Narrabarba Wattle has a geographic range of about 3 km (Briggs & Leigh 1990) and is restricted to the Narrabarba area, approximately 20 km south of Eden, on the far south coast of NSW (Briggs & Leigh 1990; Harden 1991; NSW NPWS 2003b; Orchard & Wilson 2001; Tame 1992; Tindale 1980).

Most known populations of this species are in Nadgee State Forest and within the boundaries of the proposed Narrabarba Hill Flora Reserve (NSW NPWS 2003b). There is also one population in Ben Boyd National Park (Kodela 2003 pers. comm.).

At the type locality (Narrabarba Hill) the population is by far the largest and occupies several hectares. Four much smaller sub-populations occupy nearby rocky ridge-tops. There is another population on a rocky ridge-top, 1.4 km further north. Most of the populations are predominantly even-aged and appear to have regenerated after the last major fire event in November 1980 (Briggs & Leigh 1990). Recent surveys failed to locate any Narrabarba Wattle individuals on the ridge beside Swamp Road, where several hundred plants were present in 1986 (Briggs & Leigh 1990).

A summary of the population details, as listed in the Recovery Plan for Threatened Flora of Rocky Outcrops in South Eastern New South Wales is shown in the table below (NSW NPWS 2003b).

Site number Location Area (ha) Abundance
1 Narrabarba Hill 3 5000 plants
2 Near Narrabarba Hill 0.1 One seedling
3 Near Narrabarba Hill 0.1 400 plants
4 Near Narrabarba Hill 0.1 300 plants
5 Near Narrabarba Hill 0.1 20 plants and 3 seedlings
6 North of the Womboyne River 0.21 40 plants

The Narrabarba Wattle is confined to outcrops of rhyolite geology on rocky ridges (NSW NPWS 2003b) and grows mostly in poor, skeletal soils but sometimes in rich, brown to black loams (Briggs & Leigh 1990; Orchard & Wilson 2001). It is associated with a large expanse of bare rock (NSW NPWS 2003b) and grows on all aspects but predominantly on west-facing slopes (Briggs & Leigh 1990). The largest population occurs on a long, narrow razorback ridge, running north-west to south-east, with very steep exposed rocky slopes (Briggs & Leigh 1990). Other sites contain large expanses of fairly flat rock (NSW NPWS 2003b).

The species forms almost impenetrable ‘whipstick-like’ scrub (Tindale 1980; Orchard & Wilson 2001) and is the dominant or co-dominant species in the shrub community on these rocky outcrops (Briggs & Leigh 1990; Harden 1991; NSW NPWS 2003b). Occupying the ecotone between the bare outcrops and forests dominated by Silvertop Ash (Eucalyptus sieberi), these shrublands can be up to 8 m wide. Black She-oak (Allocasuarina littoralis) is also abundant in this community and appears to compete strongly with the Narrabarba Wattle for space and light. Other common, woody species occurring in the rocky outcrop community are Bracelet Honey-myrtle (Melaleuca armillaris subsp. armillaris), White Kunzea (Kunzea ambigua), Downy Zieria (Zieria littoralis), and Shrubby Platysace (Platysace lanceolata) (NSW NPWS 2003b).

Flowers are borne in June to August (Briggs & Leigh 1990; Harden 1991; Orchard & Wilson 2001; Tame 1992; Tindale 1980), but some individuals also flower in February to March (NSW NPWS 2003b). Seed pods are fully formed by November (Tindale 1980; Orchard & Wilson 2001). Pollination is assumed to be by insects, but birds may also be involved. Seed dispersers are also likely to be ants or birds, which are attracted to the lipid-rich aril (NSW NPWS 2003b).

It is likely that the Narrabarba Wattle is short-lived and fire-sensitive but it is known to regenerate well from the seed bank after fire (Briggs & Leigh 1990; NSW NPWS 2003b).

The Narrabarba Wattle is most closely related to the widespread Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii), with which it co-occurs at Narrabarba Hill, and to Acacia nanodealbata, a Victorian endemic (Tindale 1980).

Inappropriate fire regime is the most serious potential threat to the Narrabarba Wattle (NSW NWPS 2003b). Two of the known sites were burnt by wildfire in 1980. Before then, the sites were dominated by Bracelet Honey-myrtle and White Kunzea. However, these two species were almost eliminated from those sites by the single wildfire event. Such a dramatic change in the species composition for these sites reflects the fire-sensitive nature of these communities. Although the Narrabarba Wattle is known to regenerate well from seed following fire, any subsequent burning before the plants have matured and replenished the soil seed bank could result in a significant local decline of the population (Briggs & Leigh 1990 cited in TSSC 2014bp).

The species is also likely to be susceptible to prolonged drought, as the water holding capacity of the soil associated with rocky outcrops is generally low. In the 1997 to 1998 drought, an estimated 25% of plants at Narrabarba Hill died and other populations were similarly affected (NSW NWPS 2003 cited in TSSC 2014bp).

Competition, especially from the Black She-oak, clearly impacts many Narrabarba Wattle plants at the edges of the rhyolite outcops (NSW NWPS 2003b).

Although all sites are in State Forest, they are not threatened by logging, due to the steep and rocky nature of the habitat (Briggs & Leigh 1990). There is concern that adjqacent forest areas are showing symptoms of infection by the water mould Phytophthora cinnamomi and that logging operations may spread the fungus (S. Clark cited in Elith 2002). The susceptibility of the Narrabarba Wattle to Phytophthora infection is unknown (NSW NPWS 2003 cited in TSSC 2014bp).

Documents relevant to managing threats to the Narrabarba Wattle can be found at the start of the profile.

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Droughts:Drought Acacia constablei in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006d) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:plant Acacia constablei in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006d) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Acacia constablei in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006d) [Internet].

Briggs, J.D. & J.H. Leigh (1990). Delineation of Important Habitats of Threatened Plant Species in South-Eastern New South Wales. Canberra: Australian Heritage Commission.

Briggs, J.D. & J.H. Leigh (1996). Rare or Threatened Australian Plants - Revised Edition. Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing.

Elith, J. (2002). Predicting the distribution of plants. Ph.D. Thesis. School of Botany, University of Melbourne.

Harden, G.J. (ed.) (1991). Flora of New South Wales, Volume Two. Kensington, NSW: University of NSW Press.

Kodela, P. (2002). Personal communication.

NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW) (2005b). Narrabarba Wattle - profile. [Online]. Available from:

NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (2003b). Recovery Plan for Threatened Flora of Rocky Outcrops in South Eastern New South Wales. [Online]. NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. Hurstville, NSW January 2003. Available from:

Orchard, A.E. & A.J.G. Wilson (eds) (2001). Flora of Australia, Volume 11A, Mimosaceae, Acacia Part 1.

Tame, T. (1992). Acacias of Southeast Australia. Kenthurst, Kangaroo Press.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2014bp). Commonwealth Conservation Advice for Acacia constablei (Narrabarba Wattle). [Online]. Canberra: Department of the Environment. Available from:

Tindale, M.D. (1980). Notes on Australian taxa of Acacia No. 6. Telopea. 1(6):429-449.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Acacia constablei in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:50:17 +1000.