Bauera rubioides

Dog Rose, River Rose

Family: Cunoniaceae

A bushy shrub to 2 metres high (larger in some habitats) – spreading to 1 metre or more wide.

It has a mostly coastal distribution in NSW, but spreads into the tablelands, growing mostly between Batemans Bay to Lithgow and the Gosford-area but with scattered records also from Newcastle to the border, as far west as Tamworth. Northern records seem to stop right on the NSW-Queensland border. It is very common in Victoria, scattered across the approximate southern half of the state, and is very common in Tasmania, occurring over most of the state. It can be found on Kangaroo Island in South Australia as well as the Adelaide-region.

It is typically found in wet-very moist habitats such as sandstone creeklines in heathlands, shrublands and dry sclerophyll woodlands and forests. It may also be found on different substrates in similar habitats.

Bauera spp. have compound leaves which are arranged oppositely. In this species, the small leaves which are comprised of 3 leaflets, each about 15 mm long, closely attached to the stems. The opposite pairs of 3 leaflets creates what appears to be a whorl of 6 leaves.

Bauera spp. have bisexual flowers, produced solitarily in the leaf axils with up to 10 petals and sepals, with at least 4 to somtimes 10s of stamens and 2 carpels, with petals often pink or white. In this species, the flowers appear mainly in spring but may often be seen at other times of the year. They are about 12 mm in diameter, and possess 6 to 8 petals, light to dark-pink or ocassionally white in colour; an amazing 50-60 cream-yellow stamens commonly; and occur on slender stalks (pedicels) to about 50 mm long, from the leaf axils.

The fruit is a dehiscent capsule, less than 1 cm across.

In the garden

An attractive border plant if pruned, otherwise it likes to scramble all over the place, if ample moisture is available.

Prune after flowering to keep compact.

The author has found that B. rubioides can be short lived unless its specific needs are met. It performs best in moist, well drained soils, in sun or light shade. Grows better in a pot where these variables can be controlled better. In wet years, it can succumb to root fungus. It grows naturally along sandstone creeklines so some of these aspects should be considered, eg: moisture but well-drained and a spot in dappled shade. The Editor has managed to establish a plant in a moderately steep-sloping garden bed beside a driveway, surrounded by small hawkesbury sandstone rocks and sandy soil. It has had at least one very nice flowering episode.


Propagation is readily carried out from cuttings, preferably of hardened, current season’s growth.

Other information

Regeneration response to fire unknown but likely has an ability to regenerate from seed.

This species was an early export to England, the plant appears to have been grown there since 1793.

Bauera is a genus of 4 species, endemic to Australia, with species found in all eastern states and South Australia. Three species are currently recognised in NSW.

Bauera…After Ferdinand Bauer (1760-1826), 19th century botanical illustrator who travelled on Matthew Flinders expedition to Australia.

rubioides…resembling the genus Rubia – a genus of plants known asMadders“; the species of which have been used for centuries in India, Asia and Europe.

This species is not considered to be at risk in the wild although it is near threatened in South Australia.

Australian National Herbarium – Bauera rubioides profile page       https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/gnp3/bauera-rubioides.html

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Bauera rubioides profile page

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

Gardening with Angus – Bauera rubioides profile page           https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/bauera-rubioides-river-dog-rose/

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.