A tall shrub, to small tree, reaching a height of 5 metres but often smaller (up to 12 metres is reported on some websites), spreading to 5 metres wide. The trunk is dark grey and furrowed with branches pendulous.
It has a widespread natural distribution, occurring north from Bega in NSW, mainly through the south coast and central coast areas (where it is common) and then moving further west into the northern tablelands and with a disjunction on the north western slopes. It extends into Queensland, growing along the coast and inland to as far north as Mackay.
It is often found in dry sclerophyll woodland and forest on hillsides and ridges, usually on sandy to gravelly soils as well as shale-sandstone transition.
Jacksonia is a member of the “pea” family. This generally means that leaves are alternate with stipules at the base of the petioles. In this genus, leaves are generally reduced to scale-leaves or scales with the remaining branchlets comprising the ‘foliage’. It could be said that it is a similar condition to that of Casuarina / Allocasuarina species. In this species, leaves are alternate and reduced to scales, less than 1 cm long, with some small true leaves sometimes at the base of the branches, obovate in shape. The branchlets are wiry and winged-angular and grey-green to glaucous in colour.
Flowers are, of course, pea-shaped (a term sometimes used is papilionate), with 5 petals in a fixed arrangement; the main back petal is called the “standard”, two lateral petals called “wings” and two fused petals at the bottom called the “keel” (in which the anthers and one carpel tend to be hidden). In this species, flowers are produced in terminal racemes and in upper leaf axils, usually with a small number of flowers in any group. Flowers are cream to yellow, about 15 mm across and 10 mm long, with a sweet scent. The centre of the standard has some red markings.
The fruit of all peas is a pod. In this species, they are oblong to elliptic in shape to 12 mm long.
Jacksonia scoparia is known to be cultivated successfully but remains in a bucket of plants that are not often grown. It does need some space to spread and turns into a small tree in many cases. But it would make a great addition to any larger garden. It is reported to be tolerant to a range of soils and hardy once established. Flowering can be very showy, as the bright yellow flowers contrast strongly with the flowers.
Plants are likely difficult to source from native nurseries but worth checking for availability.
Jacksonia scoparia has proved to be hardy and free flowering. A light prune, after flowering, will encourage dense growth and bounteous blooming. Plant in full sun to dappled shade with reliable drainage for best results.
Propagate from seed that will need soaking in boiling water before sowing.
The origins of the common name, Dogwood, is uncertain. It could be said that it refers to its bark perhaps.
Jacksonia is a genus of about 40 species, all endemic. They occur in all states except South Australia. NSW currently has 5 species, including one informally recognised species.
Species of Jacksonia likely regenerate from seed after fire. Some reshooting of large mature stems may be possible.
Jacksonia – named after George Jackson (1780-1811), a Scottish botanist who made some significant contributions and curated herbaria for other botanists. Little information can be found out about him online, including why he died at the age of 31.
scoparia – Latin meaning ‘broom-like’ – referring to the broom-like foliage.
This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.
NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Jacksonia scoparia profile page https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Jacksonia~scoparia
Australian National Herbarium – Jacksonia scoparia profile page https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/gnp2/jacksonia-scoparia.html
Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.