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Acacia covenyi, Blue Bush

Our first encounter with this rare wattle was some years ago when we were given seeds from a population west of Moruya, on the south coast NSW.

Acacia covenyi, the Blue Bush, is a tall shrub that reaches four metres in our garden. The phyllodes are blue-green, narrow elliptic, slightly curved and up to 45 millimetres long. There is a gland, on the margin, about two centimetres above the base. The bright yellow flowers are held in globular clusters with five to eight individual blooms in each cluster. There are 5-16 heads in axillary racemes. Spring is said to be the flowering period. In our cold climate garden blooms usually start to burst in early August. The foliage and flowers make a stunning combination. Light pruning after flowering will keep plants dense and bushy.

We first heard of Acacia covenyi when a work colleague reported seeing clumps of shrubs, with distinctive blue-green foliage, lighting up the sides of a valley near Bendethera Caves, west of Moruya. This was the source of our seeds.

Acacia covenyi has proved to be very hardy and free flowering in our garden. The species is becoming popular and often available from nurseries.

Acacia covenyi, even without the flowers, would rate as an attractive foliage plant.

The Blue Bush has proved to be rather promiscuous and will freely hybridise with other wattles. We do not grow the species from seed collected from our plants because the resultant plants have close affinities with A. vestita and A. cultriformis. These two wattles are prominent in our garden.  We now rely on cutting propagation to produce pure plants for further planting. 

Acacia covenyi propagates rapidly and willingly from cuttings.

We have heard of a commercial nursery that obtained Acacia covenyi from a seed supplier. Unfortunately, the resulting seedlings were a variety of hybrids. The seed was probably collected from cultivated plants.

The type specimen was collected near Bendethera Caves, in 1966. The species name refers to Bob Coveny, a plant collector at the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. He must have one of the best jobs in Australia.

Warren and Gloria Sheather

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