Family name: Fabaceae

Common names: Kangaroo thorn, Prickly wattle or Hedge wattle

Category: 1a NEMBA

Acacia paradoxa


Acacia paradoxa DC is a thorny shrub up to 4 m tall. Leaves dark green, narrow elliptic 3 cm long, prominent midveins and marginal veins. Bark cracked, brownish grey. Flowers yellow to bright yellow appearing from September to October. Seeds longitudinally, small fleshy structures called elaiosomes. Pods brown, hairy and straight raised over seeds.

A. paradoxa leaves


Kangaroo thorn is native to Australia and is naturalised in the United States.

History in South Africa

It is not clear how kangaroo thorn was introduced in South Africa, but the earliest record is of a specimen lodged in the Bolus Herbarium at the University of Cape Town in 1937.   

Environmental and economic impact

Kangaroo thorn invades exposed erosion slopes, valleys, pine plantations, agricultural lands and fynbos. The dense growth of kangaroo thorn may potentially reduce the abundance of native species. The seeds tolerate diverse environmental conditions and have the potential to colonise the land.

How it spreads

The kangaroo thorn spreads via seeds, which are dispersed by ants.

How to eradicate

Currently there are no herbicides registered for kangaroo thorn in South Africa. It can be controlled by uprooting.

What you can do to help

Report sightings of these plants to the Invasive Species Programme at SANBI. We will need to know its locality (the size of infestation, supply a photograph, any landmarks or GPS information if possible).

Contact details

Ruqaya Adams or Alex Marsh


Tel: +27 (0)21 799 8403/4


  • Zenni, R.D. Wilson, J.R.U., Le Roux J.J. and Richerdson, D.M. .2009. Evaluating the invasiveness of Acacia paradoxa in South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 75: 485-496. Available online at
  • Moore, J. L. M. C. Runge, B. L. Webber and J. R. U. Wilson. 2011. Contain or eradicate? Optimizing the management goal for Australian acacia invasions in the face of uncertainty. Journal of Conservation Biogeography 17:1047-1059. Available online at:
  • South African plants invaders atlas database. ARC – Plant protection research institute, Pretoria, South Africa. Available on:
  • Wilson, J. R. U., Kaplan, H., Mazibuko, D., De Smith, J., Zenni, R. D. and Van Wyk, E. 2010. Eradication and monitoring of Australian acacias in South Africa as part of Early Detection and Rapid Response Program. Available on:
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