Persoonia acuminata

Geebung

Family: Proteaceae

A prostrate to spreading shrub to a height of 2 metres.

It is confined to higher altitudes (1,000 to 1,500 metres) on the NSW tablelands. There are disjunct populations in the Ebor and Barrington Tops areas of the New England Tableland and the Hampton district on the Central Tablelands, in New South Wales. It grows in mountain heath and wet sclerophyll forest, on granite and volcanic soils.

It has moderately hairy young branches, and smooth bark.

Leaves are flat, broadly elliptic to 25 mm long and to 9 mm wide and have a pointed end, hairy when young becoming hairless, discolorous with the upper surface darker.

Persoonia flowers are typically produced either solitarily, or, in a raceme-like arrangement which can grow on into a leafy shoot. The flower structure is very similar to genera such as Hakea and Grevillea; a perianth of 4 tepals (either sepals or petals) is at the base, 4 stamens which rise above the perianth (the anther bases can be fused to the tepals or free), surrounding one carpel (female part); almost always yellow in colour.

In this species the flowers are yellow, about 1 x 1 cm, and arranged singly or in groups of up to 20 in leaf axils or on the ends of the branches with the flowering part growing on into a leafy shoot, each flower with a pedicel to 6 mm long. Flowering occurs from December to April.

The fruit are fleshy green drupes, about 1 cm long.

In the garden

No cultivation details are known. This plant is not currently known to be cultivated but may be grown in the future. It may be difficult to grow in coastal gardens. It comes from a cool, elevated and moist habitat and may lend itself to cool climate gardens.

Propagation

Generally difficult from seed or cuttings and seed needs to be scarified and sown as soon as fresh. Propagation of Persoonia species is becoming more common in nurseries and working with the seeds has attracted many amateur attempts, but with large amounts of resulting frustration.

There is advice that the outer fruit coating (the exocarp) needs to be clipped to open it up, and then the seed put into a solution containing the plant propagation hormone GA (Giberellic Acid) for several hours to days. This will trigger the seed to germinate.

Other techniques include putting fruits in a bag with potting mix for 12 months and storing in a glass house / propagation shed, then clean and sand the fruits and then sow, with germination taking another 6 months.

Other information

Persoonia is a genus of about one hundred species, all of which are endemic to Australia,

It is reported that the fruit can be eaten raw or cooked. Succulent but astringent. The fruit has a sweet fibrous pulp that is fixed to one large seed, it tastes somewhat like sweet cotton wool and is relished by Australian First Nations People.

The term ‘geebung’ is derived from the Dharug language word geebung, while the Wiradjuri term was jibbong.

Intergrades with Persoonia oxycoccoides in a limited area between Jenolan Caves and Kanangra Walls at the southern end of its distribution.

Persoonia – named after Christiaan Hendrik Persoon (1761-1836), a South African botanist and mycologist who is most well-known for describing mushroom species. The genus was named in his honour by James Edward Smith (1759-1828), an English botanist and founder of the Linnean Society.

acuminata – is a Latin word meaning ‘pointed’ or ‘sharpened’, referring to the pointed end of the leaves of this species.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persoonia
https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Persoonia~acuminata https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/persoonia_acuminata.htm

By Jeff Howes, edited by Dan Clarke