Isopogon petiolaris

Family: Proteaceae

Isopogon petiolaris is a low mounded ground cover usually less than 1 metre high by about 1 metre across. It can form a groundcovering shrub.

It is an inland species in NSW, growing mostly on the western slopes, north from around Orange, northwards through areas such as Dubbo and Coonabarabran to Narrabri. It is also found west of Armidale and around Inverell and northwards of Coffs Harbour on the coast. It only just extends into Queensland, growing around Stanthorpe and Inglewood and further east near Dayboro.

It is found in dry sclerophyll woodland and forest as well as heathland, usually on sandy and stony/rocky soils.

Isopogon spp. have leaves appearing simple, or heavily dissected into segments (appearing compound), arranged alternately. In this species, leaves are light to mid green and up to 14 cm long, with the undivided petiole (or leaf stalk) to 9 cm long and the heavily dissected part to 5 cm long by 5 cm wide, with pointy terminals.

The inflorescences of Isopogon are typically globe-shaped (globular) terminal heads, consisting 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. 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. In this species, the heads are yellow and terminals, around 30 mm across, profuse and conspicuous.

The fruiting body is a spherical (barrel-shaped) woody cluster (“cone”), 10 to 16 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 is known to be cultivated. It is reported to be hardy in a well-draining soil.

Isopogon petiolaris is an eye-catching, low-growing plant when flowering. The species could be grown as a foreground plant in native shrubberies or incorporated in cottage gardens and rockeries.

It makes a nice low rounded shrub.


Propagate from seed and cuttings.

Other information

Following bushfires, this plant resprouts from its woody lignotuber. It will also regenerate from seed. Seedlings appear in the year following a fire.

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.

petiolaris – Latin – “petiole-bearing” – referring to the comparitively long petioles which are around 9 cm.

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

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

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

Australian Nativa Plants Society Australia (ANPSA) – Isopogon petiolaris profile page https://anpsa.org.au/plant_profiles/isopogon-petiolaris


By Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke