Small trees and larger shrubs

Acacia pycnantha
Golden Wattle

Description: Small tree or large shrub: 4-7m tall. Grey-green foliage although large and glossy when young. Brilliant globular yellow fragrant flowers in late winter to mid spring. Fast growing, short lived (under 15 years).

Cultivation: Prefers sunny or part shaded spot in well drained soil. Tolerant of most soil types. Moderately drought and frost tolerant.


  • Australia’s national floral emblem
  • Provides nectar for insects and birds
  • Traditional Aboriginal uses: gum or resin (eaten or for adhesives) or seeds/fruits eaten

Acacia retinoides
Swamp Wattle

Description: Small open tree or large shrub 5-8 m high. Pale bark. Long grey-green foliage. Globular yellow flowers most of the year. Short-lived. Up to 15 years.

Cultivation: Prefers full sun or part shade. Happy in moist soils. May need additional watering over summer.


  • Bird and butterfly attracting
  • Traditional Aboriginal use: seeds were ground into flour and eaten.

Allocasuarina verticillate
Drooping Sheoak

Description: Evergreen, shady small to medium-sized tree 6 to 10m on straight trunk. Foliage grey-green drooping branches with needles rather than leaves. Fast growing. Long-lived (over 15 years).

Cultivation: Prefers full sun or part shade and well-drained or dry soils.


  • Aboriginal name is ‘karko’ in Kaurna language.
  • Use as firewood and fuel for river boats is largely responsible for its massive clearance across SA.
  • Male plant has drooping brown/yellow flowers on needle tips. Female plant has round fruit cones.
  • Important for some bird species such as the Glossy Black Cockatoo.
  • The mat of needles that falls from the tree prevents understorey and can be a nuisance.

Callitris gracilis
Native Pine

Description: Medium size conifer growing up to 12m on a straight trunk. An elegant ornamental tree with bright green needles. Tiny flower structures are insignificant. Fast growing. Long-lived and hardy.

Cultivation: Well-drained or dry soils. High tolerance to drought and frost.


  • The only native conifer in Adelaide region. Suitable in large gardens only.
  • Also known as the Southern or Slender Cypress Pine.
  • World’s hardest softwood timber, the wood is termite and pest resistant.
  • Fruit is attractive to cockatoos.
  • Distinguished from other pines and cypresses by the ‘floppy top’.

Aboriginal name ‘narnu’ in Kaurna language. Wood was used for fish spears.

Melaleuca lanceolata
Dryland Tea-tree

Description: Dense, shady, dark-barked shrub or small tree to 8 m. Leaves small and pointed. White flowers similar to bottle-brush in early summer. Fast growing. Long-lived (over 15 years).

Cultivation: Full sun to part shade. Moderately frost and drought tolerant.


  • Bird and butterfly attracting.
  • Responds to pruning.
  • Used to make tea by early settlers.

Pittosporum phyllaeriodes
Native Apricot

Description: Small tree to around 6m, sometimes to 10m. Graceful weeping habit, with long, slender, bright green leaves. Slow growing and long lived. Small yellow flowers in summer. Yellow orange fruit. More recently known as Pittosporum angustifolium.

Cultivation: Easy to grow. Prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Drought and frost resistant.


  • Widespread in inland Australia.
  • Bird attracting.
  • Aboriginal use: an infusion of the leaves, seeds, fruit pulp or wood was used to treat bruises, muscle-ache, sprains and cramps.
  • Infusions were drunk to treat coughs and colds as well as to induce lactation.
  • Also known as Gumbi-Gumbi.