About 1200 species of acacia are scattered through the warm regions of the world. Most of them are shrubs or small trees. Some are matted plants a few inches high. All are thorny and pod-bearing. The tiny sweet-smelling blossoms cluster together in fluffy balls or cylinder shapes. They range in color from deep yellow to almost white. The leaves are usually grayish and fernlike. The acacia is quick-growing and short-lived.
Australia has about 300 species of acacia. The early settlers called them wattles because they used the plant branches to make wattle-and-daub huts. The golden wattle is Australia’s national Bower.