Callicoma serratifolia

Common Name: black wattle 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Cunoniaceae
Native Range: Australia
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 16.00 to 40.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 25.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: White apetalous flowers
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-11 where it is best grown in moist, fertile, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Callicoma serratifolia, commonly known as black wattle, butterwood or callicoma, is an evergreen shrub or small tree that typically grows from 16-40’ tall. It is native to damp creek margins, rocky gullies and rainforests along the coast and tablelands of New South Wales and southern Queensland. Opposite, coarsely-toothed, broad-lanceolate to narrow-elliptic, evergreen leaves (to 6” long) are sharply pointed. Leaves are dark green above and white tomentose (sometimes with reddish-brown hairs) beneath. From the leaf axils and stem ends, tiny creamy white flowers bloom in spring to early summer in dense spherical heads (each flower head to 7/8” diameter). Flowers are apetalous, each having 4 or 5 small hairy sepals and ten protruding and spreading stamens, thus giving the flower heads a certain resemblance to the flower heads found on Australian acacia which is commonly known as wattle. Fruits are small green capsules which are densely clustered into spherical heads. Fruits ripen in late summer to fall. Mature tree bark is dark brown with a pinkish-brown inner layer. Shoots are woolly-hairy.

Genus name comes from the Greek kalos meaning beauty and kome meaning hair in reference to the flower heads.

Specific epithet is in reference to the serrated leaf margins.

Common name of black wattle is in reference to the purported similarity in appearance between the flower heads of callicoma and the flower heads of Australian acacia (known as wattle). Early settlers to Australia reportedly constructed “wattle and daub” huts made from callicoma stems and mud.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Attractive small ornamental tree for frost free areas.