Daviesia corymbosa

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Faboideae

A shrub reaching 2 metres tall with a 1-metre spread; generally, with an open-habit and multi-stemmed.

It is endemic to NSW, occurring mostly on the central coast botanical subdivision but also on the coast-tablelands divide as well as the south coast; from as far south as Ben Boyd / Beowa National Park; with patchy occurrences northwards to Ulladulla and then commonly from here to Wisemans Ferry and as far west as Blackheath. There are then a few scattered records at Newcastle, Putty and Bucketty. There are possible, if scant, far-disjunct records at Lake George and Batlow.

It is found mainly in dry sclerophyll forest, woodland and shrubland-heathland on sandy soils or sandstone soils.

Daviesia spp. have simple leaves modified to phyllodes or rigid scales, arranged alternately. In this species, they are variable in shape, ranging from obovate or oval to linear, to 12 cm long and to 2.5 cm wide and are mid to olive-green in colour, with a prominent network of veins.

Daviesia spp. have pea-flowers (papilionate) which are 5-merous but with the typical pea setup where there is one large rear petal called the “standard”, two fused bottom petals called the “keel” and two lateral petals called “wings”. In this species, yellow-orange flowers with red markings are produced in an umbel-like or corymb-like raceme of up to 20 flowers in leaf axils (there can be several clusters in each axil), on a peduncle to 25 mm long; appearing from August to December, but peak in September and October.

Flowers are followed by distinctive triangular pods in Daviesia spp. In this species, pods are to 9 mm long, and about 6 mm wide, brown when ripe – in November and December.

In the garden

A very nice plant; however, very little is known about its cultivation potential. It may be difficult to establish in gardens or may be “temperamental”. It is certainly very showy with its flowers and overall, shrubs can create generous foliage to fill in spacesi. Best planted on a sandy soil with good drainage in a sunny position. Check with local native nurseries for availability.

Daviesia spp. are sometimes grown by enthusiasts but the genus is not in widespread cultivation. This is a pity as there are a number of species that would make excellent subjects for cultivation as they are reasonable hardy species andrequire good drainage and full to half sun to grow at their best. This species is a showy plant when in flower.

The seeds are often attacked by caterpillars making collection difficult.


Propagation is easy from seed following pre-treatment to break the physical dormancy provided by the impervious seed coat. Pre-treatment can be carried out by abrasion or by the use of boiling water. The seed retains viability for many years. Cuttings may be successful but are often slow to strike and may not produce a vigorous root system. Seed are available commercially.

Other information

Daviesia spp. regenerate after fire from seed. Some species can regenerate in large numbers after fire. This species may be able to sucker as well.

Daviesia is a genus of about 120 species, endemic to Australia, occurring in all Australian states and territories. NSW currently has 20 species. Like other genera in their family, Daviesia species have nitrogen-fixing bacteria contained in root nodules. The leaves have a bitter taste (hence the common name).

Daviesia – named for Rev. Hugh Davies (1739 – 1821); a Welsh botanist who was one of the first to describe plants in the Welsh language. The genus was named after him by James Edward Smith – an English botanist and founder of the Linnean Society

corymbosa – Latin – “corymb-bearing” – referring to the arrangement of the flowers in this species.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Daviesia corymbosa profile page:    https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Daviesia~corymbosa

iNaturalistUK – Daviesia corymbosa profile page                          https://uk.inaturalist.org/taxa/418318-Daviesia-corymbosa

Wikipedia Daviesia corymbosa profile page  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daviesia_corymbosa

Australian Native Plants Cultivation, Use in Landscaping and Propagation. Sixth edition. John W Wrigley and Murray Fagg. Reed New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia. 2013, page 319 for genus Daviesia.

By Dan Clarke and Jeff Howes.