It grows up to 2 metres high and has phyllodes which measure 0.2 to 0.6 cm long and 1 to 2 mm wide. The phyllodes are straight, narrow-cuneate, slightly notched at the apex, and feature prominent midveins. Branchlets are terete, whitish and densely pubescent, As the branch grows it becomes glabrous and terminates in a rigid spinose point. The bark is grey, white or occasionally greenish.
The golden-yellow flowerheads, on 5–15 cm long peduncles, appear at the phyllode axils. Flower parts are pentamerous, with the sepals fused into a synsepalous calyx. Flowers appear from August to October, followed by irregularly twisted, glaucous, brown seed pods which are 3 to 6 cm long and 3 to 6 mm wide.
The species was formally described in 1863 by Victorian Government Botanist Ferdinand von Mueller in the third volume of his Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae, based on plant material collected near Kulkyne, Victoria.
Two subspecies are recognised:
The species is relatively uncommon and is found scattered at several sites in isolated clumps: Buronga, Wentworth and Pooncarie districts in far south-western New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Arumpo Station and Montarna Station in Western Australia. Arumpo Station in particular is home to a stunted sample, which is threatened by overgrazing by kangaroos.
- Eucalyptus dumosa
- Eucalyptus socialis
- Eucalyptus gracilis
- Eucalyptus costata
- Callitris verrucosa
- Codonocarpus cotinifolius
- Triodia scariosa
- Kodela P.G. & G.J. Harden. "Acacia acanthoclada". PlantNET - New South Wales Flora Online. Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney Australia. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
- "Acacia acanthoclada". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government, Canberra. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
- "Acacia acanthoclada F.Muell. subsp. acanthoclada". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.
- "Acacia acanthoclada subsp. glaucescens Maslin". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.
- "Harrow Wattle - profile". threatened species. Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW). Retrieved 21 March 2011.
- "Acacia acanthoclada". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.
- Australian National Botanic Gardens: Photo of Acacia acanthoclada
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