Wattle Day – 1st September

Acacia pycnantha – Golden wattle. Australia’s floral emblem

Today is wattle day all over Australia, a celebration of the Acacia genus, which I believe to be the biggest plant genus in Australia, and one which has a long history of use for food, medicines and many other purposes.

History of wattle day

The first wattle day on record was held in Hobart as far back as 1838. It was held sporadically at different times in different states, and it wasn’t until 1992 that it was gazetted as a national event to be held on the 1st September. We can thank the so –called wattle lady, Maria Hitchcock of Armidale NSW, who campaigned to get wattle day gazetted, following her success in having the golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha) gazetted as the Australian floral emblem in 1988.  Her book, “A Celebration of Wattle”, (Rosenberg Publishing, 2012) tells the story of the history of wattle day, whilst also containing botanical and horticultural tips along with an anthology of wattle poems, songs and plays.

It is the day for wearing a sprig of wattle, and celebrating the beginning of Spring in Australia. For more on wattle day, and events that are held round the country, check out the Wattle Day Association at  http://www.wattleday.asn.au/

Image result for a celebration of wattle
Image from Wikipedia

At the Queensland Herbarium, wattle day was celebrated on the 29th August, which is also volunteers day. As with most Herbaria, volunteers play a crucial role in helping with the mounting and labeling of plant specimens. Sprigs of wattle and a lavish spread for morning tea marked the occasion.

Finally, check out these books on edible and other uses for Acacia, particularly relevant to South Australia and the inland regions of Australia

Image result for Edible Wattle Seeds of Southern Australia book:
Image result for Edible Wattle Seeds of Southern Australia book:

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