White ball acacia


Have you seen White ball acacia?

Be on the lookout for White ball acacia and report it to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection and reporting are the key elements in preventing White ball acacia from becoming a major problem in Queensland.

Call us on 13 25 23.

Native to tropical and subtropical America, white ball acacia is a highly variable perennial shrub. White ball acacia was planted at trial sites throughout Queensland in the 1970s and 1980s to investigate its potential as a forage legume.

White ball acacia can invade nearby habitats, forming dense, thorny thickets that exclude native vegetation and pasture. It is now being eradicated at the handful of sites in Queensland where it has naturalised.

You must take reasonable action to minimise the risk of spreading white ball acacia to ensure the situation isn't worsened.

You must report all sightings to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.

Scientific name

Acaciella angustissima syn. Acacia angustissima, Acacia boliviana

Other names

  • Fern acacia, prairie acacia


  • Thornless shrub or small tree generally 2–7m tall, sometimes up to 12m, with single short trunk.
  • Leaves are bipinnate, 10–21cm long, usually have 10–17 pairs of pinnae.
  • Each leaf is borne on a stalk 20–45 mm long and has 9–25 pairs of branchlets. Leaf stalks and leaf branchlets have a covering of soft hairs.
  • Pinnae are 2.5–5cm long, each bears 20–40 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets are small, 2.4–5mm long, 0.5–2mm wide, with pointed tips and entire margins.
  • Flowers are whitish, in globular or elliptical clusters 1–1.5cm across.
  • Pods are flat, thin-walled, papery, oblong, 3–9cm long, 6–15mm wide, with straight or sinuate margins.
  • Pods are acute at base and apex, with stripe 7–12mm long and beak 2–7mm long.
  • Pods contain 8–12 circular seeds 2.5–3.2mm across.


  • Best adapted to seasonally dry tropical areas with annual rainfall 400–3,000mm.


  • Found at scattered locations around Queensland.

Life cycle

  • Produces large number of seeds.
  • Seed banks are long-lived.
  • May also produce new shoots through root suckering.
  • Flowering occurs year-round.



  • Escapes cultivation and invades nearby habitats.
  • Forms dense thickets that exclude more desirable pasture plants and native vegetation.
  • Potential to become widespread and abundant invasive pest of much of north Queensland's dry tropical woodlands and riparian areas, extending to subcoastal and coastal southern Queensland.

How it is spread

  • Spread by cattle and water.


Legal requirements

  • White ball acacia is a prohibited invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • You must not keep, move, give away, sell or release into the environment. Penalties may apply.
  • You must not take any action reasonably likely to exacerbate the biosecurity threat posed by white ball acacia.
  • You must take any action that is reasonably likely to minimise the biosecurity threat posed by white ball acacia.
  • You must report all sightings to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.

Further information