Lomatia fraseri

Tree Lomatia, Forest Lomatia, Silky Lomatia

Family: Proteaceae

Lomatia fraseri is a shrub or small tree reaching a maximum height of 8 metres with a narrow spread.

It occus in NSW in two disjunct areas: the north coast and tablelands (growing north from around Port Macquarie, extending west towards Tamworth and northward to just into Queensland near the border), then on the south coast / southern tablelands divide (south from around Braidwood, extending south into Victoria and west into the alpine region). In Victoria, it is found in the general eastern half of the state, west to Melbourne but also growing disjunctly north of Apollo Bay and Lorne.

It is generally found in wet sclerophyll forest, on the margins of rainforest, on enriched soils (volcanic and shales). 

Lomatia spp. have alternate leaves with can be simple or appearing compound with heavily dissected foliage. The species is characterised by a variety of leaf shapes. They may be entire, toothed or deeply lobed (pinnatisect) with the lobes entire or toothed; to 12 cm long and 3.5 cm wide, dull green and leathery (a very similar texture to the Blueberry Ash – Elaeocarpus reticulatus) and with prominent venation.

Lomatia spp. have typical Proteaceae flowers with 4 perianth parts (tepals), 4 stamens and 1 carpel, white to cream in colour and produced in raceme-like or panicle-like arrangements – with flowers arranged in pairs within the structure. In this species, flowers may be held in clusters (racemes to panicles) up to 12 centimetres long by several centimetres wide; with each flower about 1 cm long, fragrant and usually profuse, produced in summer.

Lomatia produce a follicle. In this species, they are to 30 mm long and take a few months to ripen. The seeds have a wing attached. 

In the garden

Author’s notes:

A fragrant addition to the garden. It has nice leathery foliage and attractive sprays of white flowers. It may require reliable soil moisture to do well. It may be hard to purchase at native nurseries. 

Can grow to at least 5 metres tall, so allow some room. Will likely tolerate an enriched loam to clay-loam soil with adequate drainage, in part shade. The specimen illustrated, from our cold climate garden (near Armidale), has rather sparse flowers. This was cutting grown plant and this was probably its first flowering. We expect more extensive blooming in the future.


Propagate by seed or cuttings.

Other information

In New England National Park, east of Armidale also in northern NSW, this is one of the dominant understorey shrubs. There is a bewildering range of leaf shapes in these populations. Some plants, in the park, may be hybrids with L. silaifolia as the other parent.

This species can likely regenerate from fire through the root system or from any seedbank. It grows commonly in fire prone areas.

Lomatia is a genus of 12 species, occurring in South America and Australia. Australia has 9 species, all endemic, occurring in the eastern states only. NSW currently has 5 species. 

Lomatia – named by Robert Brown from the Ancient Greek Loma (λῶμα) referring to the nature of the margins (edges) of the wings on the seed, which appear like a sewn hem or border.

fraserinamed for Charles Fraser (1788-1831), Colonial Botanist of NSW from 1821-1831 and early explorer of Swan River in WA. 

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

Yarra Ranges Council – Local Plant Directory – Lomatia fraseri profile page https://www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/PlantDirectory/Trees/Trees-3-25m/Lomatia-fraseri

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

VICFlora – Flora of Victoria online – Lomatia fraseri profile page https://vicflora.rbg.vic.gov.au/flora/taxon/31964b31-8a27-4d06-b832-dbcc026957ca

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