Isopogon fletcheri

Fletcher's Drumsticks

Family: Proteaceae

An erect stout shrub to about 1.5 metres tall by 1 metre wide, possessing a lignotuber.

It is restricted to a very small area in the Blackheath district of the Blue Mountains on the eastern edge of the Central Tablelands. The entire known population occurs within Blue Mountains National Park.

It grows in moist sheltered cliffs within the spay zone of waterfalls in dry sclerophyll forest, woodland/shrubland and heath on sandstone.

It is a listed threatened species in the wild.

Isopogon spp. have leaves appearing simple, or heavily dissected into segments (appearing compound), arranged alternately. In this species, leaves are leathery, entire (without any dissected parts), narrow lanceolate, to 12 cm long by 2 cm wide and with a blunt point, mid-green in colour.

The inflorescences of Isopogon are typically globe-shaped (globular) terminal heads, described as condesned spikes. In this species, the heads are around 30 mm in diameter, conspicuously displayed on the ends of the branches. 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. In this species, flowers are yellowish or creamy-green, about 20 mm long. usually seen from September to November.

The woody fruiting “cone” is rounded, oval and hairy, to about 2 cm across. Nuts are 2 to 3 mm long and hairy.

In the garden

Despite its threatened status, this plant is known to be cultivated and can be grown quite successfully. However, plants would need to be sourced from a licenced grower. Check with local native and council bushcare nurseries for availability.

It reportedly grows slowly. It needs a moist, well-drained sandy soil to do its best. Plant in full sun to light shade.

Suitable for small gardens as well as larger open gardens with some shelter. Can also be trialled in a pot.

This species would be a valuable addition to any garden.


Propagation from seed should be successful but due to the rarity of the species, seed in not available. Cuttings of hardened, current season’s growth strike successfully but are slow to form roots.

Other information

Isopogon spp. are fire-tolerant species capable of re-sprouting from lignotuber after fire. They can also regenerate from any seedbank.

Isopogon is a genus of about 35 species, all endemic to Australia, occurring in all states and territories, except the Northern Territory. NSW currently has 7 species.

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.

fletcheri – named after the biologist, Joseph James Fletcher (1850 – 1926), who discovered the plant in the late 1800s. Fletcher was working at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney at the time.

This species is listed as threatened with extinction under both State and
Commonwealth legislation with the category of Vulnerable.

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage – Isopogon fletcheri profile page https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedSpeciesApp/profile.aspx?id=10440

Wikipedia – Isopogon fletcheri profile page

Australian National Herbarium – Isopogon fletcheri profile page

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