Isopogon prostratus

Prostrate Cone-bush

Family: Proteaceae

A prostrate shrub, usually producing a few branches, with reddish branchlets, growing up to 0.2 metres tall which may spread to about to 1 metre. It has a lignotuber.

It usually grows in heath or dry sclerophyll forest, often on exposed sites, on the tablelands (just west of the coastal divisions) between the Newnes Plateau and the Tuross River (west of Bodalla) in New South Wales, and also on the south coast from Eden to Nadgee.

It is only known from two disjunct areas in Victoria, near Providence Ponds and on the Howe Range.

Isopogon spp. have leaves appearing simple, or heavily dissected into segments (appearing compound), arranged alternately. In this species, the leaves may be up to 100 mm long, consisting of a narrow-linear segment for most of their length with the top-third strongly divided (forked) into many linear segments.

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, flowers are very short – only about 10 mm long, yellow in colour, forming heads to around 20 mm across.

The fruiting body (“cone”) is spherical (barrel-shaped) which remain on the plant for an indefinite period. The nuts are 2 to 3 mm long with equal hairs.

In the garden

This is considered an attractive species which would add a lot to native gardens.

Currently, it is not cultivated widely due to its mixed results regarding reliability in the garden. It likely needs more research to find reliable forms.

It would probably perform best in a well-drained position in full sun or light shade. It does not need pruning as it is a compact prostrate plant. Would be suitable in rockeries and small gardens.


Propagation from seed or cuttings is relatively easy.

Other information

Likely regenerates from its lignotuber after 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.

prostrata – Latin – referring to the prostrate habit.

It is not considered threatened in NSW, although is considered rare.

It is listed as threatened with extinction in Victoria (category of vulnerable).

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

Plants of South-Eastern NSW – Online LUCID website/app – Isopogon prostratus profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/isopogon_prostratus.htm

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


By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke