Persoonia rigida

Geebung, Hairy Geebung, Rigid Geebung, Stiff Geebung

Family: Proteaceae

An erect to spreading / ground-hugging shrub to a height of 2 metres.

It has a large range, growing mainly on the central and southern tablelands and western slopes and into the central coast divisions, north to about Dubbo and a line to Newcastle, southwards into mid-western Victoria and east to Robertson in and Eden in NSW. It grows in dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands, usually on sandy soils.

Has branches and leaves that are hairy when young.

Leaves are lanceolate, to oblanceolate, to spathulate, to 50 mm long and to 20 mm wide, with the edges curving downwards, sparsely to densely hairy, mid-green in colour.

Persoonia flowers are typically produced either solitarily, or, in a raceme-like arrangement which can grow on into a leafy shoot.

The flower structure is very similar to genera such as Hakea and Grevillea; a perianth of 4 tepals (either sepals or petals) is at the base, 4 stamens which rise above the perianth (the anther bases can be fused to the tepals or free), surrounding one carpel (female part); almost always yellow in colour.

In this species flowers are arranged in leaf axils, in leafy groups of up to 20 on a shoot up to 100 mm long. The shoot continues to grow after flowering. Each flower is about 2 cm long by 1.5 cm wide, occurring from November to March.

The fruit is a drupe, green in colour. Reportedly, this species exhibits a high amount of fruit development.

In the garden

This is another persoonia that is not readily known in cultivation, despite being another attractive plant and having a large geographic range.

Garden conditions not known. It was cultivated in England in 1824.

It may be cultivated more in the future.

Propagation

Generally difficult from seed or cuttings and seed needs to be scarified and sown as soon as fresh.

Propagation of Persoonia species is becoming more common in nurseries and working with the seeds has attracted many amateur attempts; but with large amounts of resulting frustration.

There is advice that the outer fruit coating (the exocarp) needs to be clipped to open it up, and then the seed put into a solution containing the plant propagation hormone GA (Giberellic Acid) for several hours to days.

This will trigger the seed to germinate.

Other techniques include putting fruits in a bag with potting mix for 12 months and storing in a glass house / propagation shed, then clean and sand the fruits and then sow, with germination taking another 6 months.

See references below for specific information for this species.

Other information

Persoonia is a genus of about one hundred species all of which are endemic to Australia.
It is reported that the fruit can be eaten raw or cooked. Succulent but astringent. The fruit has a sweet fibrous pulp that is fixed to one large seed, it tastes somewhat like sweet cotton wool and is relished by Australian First Nations People.
The term geebung is derived from the Dharug language word geebung, while the Wiradjuri term was jibbong.

This species was collected by George Caley in 1804.

Likely regenerates from seed after fire but may have some resprouting ability.

It hybridises sporadically with Persoonia juniperina and Persoonia sericea.

Persoonia – named after Christiaan Hendrik Persoon (1761-1836), a South African botanist and mycologist who is most well-known for describing mushroom species. The genus was named in his honours by James Edward Smith (1759-1828), an English botanist and founder of the Linnean Society.
rigida – from Latin meaning “stiff” referring to the habit of the plant.

Not known to be at risk in the wild.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persoonia
https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Persoonia~rigida https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/persoonia_rigida.htm
https://wtlandcare.org/details/persoonia-rigida/

By Jeff Howes, edited Dan Clarke