The genus Acacia, which includes the 600 endemic species of Australian wattle, belongs to the family Mimosaceae. Acacia forms the largest genus in the flora of Australia and is widely distributed throughout the continent. The golden wattle, Acacia pycnantha, is the wattle featured on Australia's coat of arms and coinage, and is the country's accepted floral emblem.
The majority of Australia's acacias have phyllodes. This means that they have flattened stalks which perform the function of leaves.
The Cootamundra wattle is probably the best known of all cultivated acacias. Naturally restricted to the south-western slopes of New South Wales, it is cultivated widely both in Australia and overseas. Some Australian acacias are valuable timber trees. The blackwood, A. melanoxylon, produces a dark timber suitable for furniture and cabinet work. Ironwood, A. excelsa, has hard, close-grained and very tough deep-red timber used in mining construction and cabinet work. Mulga, A. aneura, a small shrubby tree of the interior, produces an extremely hard timber which takes a high polish and is used for ornamental work.