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Products > Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea'
Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea' - Purple Fernleaf Acacia
Image of Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea'
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Mimosaceae (~Fabales)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [A. baileyana 'Variety Purpurea']
Height: 20-30 feet
Width: 20-30 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea' (Purple Fernleaf Acacia) - A fast-growing small evergreen tree that typically grows no taller than 20 feet with a wide-spreading canopy 20 to 40 feet wide with weeping branches holding silvery blue-gray, feathery leaves that are tinged with purple when emerging. Sweetly fragrant bright golden-yellow flowers, in small globose clusters appear in late winter through early spring.

Plant in full sun to light filtered shade; once established it is frost tolerant and moderately drought tolerant. Cold hardy to 15-20 degrees F. As with many in the genus, it is relatively short lived for a tree but for 30 years or so makes a dramatic statement in the garden as a trained-up street or patio tree or left with lower branches as a large shrub or low branched tree. A great plant for slopes. The species Acacia baileyana has been identified as invasive in other mediterranean climate regions of the world and has reseeded in a few areas within California, so is best not used near the urban–rural interface or close to sensitive wildland habitats.

Fernleaf Acacia has a very restricted natural distribution confined to the vicinity of Cootamundra in southern New South Wales, Australia where it is commonly called the Cootamundra Wattle. The name Acacia comes either from the Greek word 'akazo' meaning "to sharpen" or from the Egyptian word 'akakia', a name given to the Egyptian Thorn, Acacia arabica. The specific epithet honors the Frederick Manson Bailey (1827-1915), Australian botanist and son of colonial botanist John Bailey (1800-1864).

The species, Acacia baileyana, was first introduced into California by Dr. Francesco Franceschi (AKA Emanuele Orazio Fenzi) in 1903. The purple leaf form has long been in cultivation and was first introduced into cultivation in California around 1935, but its actual origin remains unknown. Naturally occurring plants in the wild have been noted to have varying degree of purple in the new growth and the cultivar name 'Purpurea' was registered by the Australian Cultivar Registration Authority in 1994. Both Acacia baileyana and the cultivar 'Purpurea' received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 1993. We have grown this plant using this name since 1982. For more information about the species, see our listing of Acacia baileyana

This information about Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea' displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.