Isopogon anethifolius

Narrow-leaved Drumsticks

Family: Proteaceae

An erect shrub to 3 metres tall by 2 metres wide, with reddish stems and a lignotuber.

It grows along the east coast of New South Wales, mainly confined to the central and south coast divisions, extending just into the central and southern tablelands, from Braidwood and east of here in the south, north to about Olinda in Wollemi National Park.

It grows in sandy and sandstone heath, shrubland and dry sclerophyll woodland and forest.

Leaves are up to 150 mm long, with the lower half, linear and tubular (terete) and then the upper half split into several tubular-linear segments (long-forking pattern) with pointed tips but not overly prickly.

The inflorescences of Isopogon are typically globe-shaped terminal heads. In this species, they consist of many bright yellow flowers occur in late spring and early summer. The flower clusters are around 35 mm in diameter, conspicuously displayed on the ends of the branches with flowering heads surrounded by the erect foliage.

Being a Proteaceae genus, the flowers are similar to that of other genera with flowers having 4 tepals, 4 stamens and 1 carpel. Each head might have 50 – 100 flowers, occurring from spring to summer. Most parts are bright yellow with styles turning a darker shade of yellow-orange.

The fruiting body is a spherical (barrel-shaped) woody cluster (“cone”), to 25 mm in diameter which consists of individual nuts. The nuts are covered in white hairs and are about 2 to 3 mm long. They can remain on the plant for an indefinite period.

In the garden

This species has a history of being cultivated and is best grown in a well-draining sandy soil and not in full hot sun but in dappled shade with some sunny periods. It responds well to a low-phosphorus fertiliser in Spring and additional watering when it is young. It is an excellent cut-flower.

Can be pruned by lightly removing tips of shoots but is largely unnecessary.

Grow in an open garden where it can be observed and give it some room to spread out.


By seed or cuttings of hardened growth less than a year old.

The seed can be collected from the cones and stored; they are best sown in spring or autumn.

Other information

Unlike I. anemonifolius, there are no cultivars known for this species.

Following bushfires, this plant resprouts from its woody base, known as a lignotuber. Seedlings appear in the year following a fire.

Isopogon – from the Greek words Isos (ίσος) meaning ‘equal’ and -pogon (πώγων) meaning ‘beard’, referring to the equal-length hairs on the fruits (nuts) of some species.

anethifolius – Latin – derived from a genus Anethum (Dill) and -folium, the latter meaning “leaf”, highlighting the resemblance of its leaves to those of Dill, the herb.

Not considered to be at risk in the wild.



By Jeff Howes