Robert Powell: Tree Pictures, South-Western Australia
Summer-scented wattle (Acacia rostellifera)
This is the most typical large wattle of Perth’s coastal dunes, and the one that in summer gives the dunes their agreeable scent. It is well adapted to coastal conditions. It reproduces mostly by suckering, from a network of underground stems that run just below the surface, and help stabilize the soil. Fed by the parent plants the suckers grow vigorously to form thickets, protecting one another from the damaging salt carried by onshore winds.
Summer-scented wattle’s suckering habit also allows it to recover readily after a fire. Its above-ground parts are killed, but it recovers strongly by sprouting from its underground stems.
This wattle is Perth’s tallest. Where there is sufficient shelter from salt winds it can grow to more than 10 metres tall — but in today’s bushland fires are normally too frequent to allow this.
© Text and photographs: Robert Powell