Callicoma-serratifolia.jpg (48065 bytes)Callicoma serratifolia: is a member of the Cunoniaceae family and is a monotypic genus (a genus with a single species) native to Australia.

Callicoma serratifolia is known as Black Wattle (no relation to the Acacias of the same common name) because the pliable stems were used be early settlers to make wattle and daub huts. Blackwattle Bay, an inlet of Sydney Harbour, was probably named after this species.

Callicoma serratifolia is a tall shrub or small tree with rusty new shoots. The leaves are elliptic to lanceolate, 4-12 centimetres long, shiny above with a dense blanket of hairs beneath and with coarsely toothed margins.

The flowers are in globular heads, about two centimetres across, cream and fluffy. Blooms are profuse and conspicuous in spring. Both flowers and foliage are attractive features.

Callicoma serratifolia has a wide distribution and is found from Queensland to southern New South Wales usually along the banks of streams and in other moist places. The specimen photographed was growing along a creek in the Bijigal Reserve in northwest Sydney in October 2010. At this time the creek was lined with Callicomas in full flower.

The Black Wattle prefers to grow in protected, cool positions and needs plenty of water in dry periods. We do not have any in our garden but will try a specimen in a container.

Propagation is from seed or cuttings.