Persoonia bargoensis

Bargo Geebung, Geebung

Family: Proteaceae

An erect, bushy shrub to 2.5 metres tall.

It is restricted to a small area south-west of Sydney, bounded by Picton, Douglas Park, Yanderra, Cataract River and Thirlmere and grows in dry sclerophyll woodland and forest on sandstone and shale/sandstone transition soils.

It is listed as threatened with extinction in the wild.

Young branchlets are hairy greyish appressed hairs.

Leaves alternate, linear to lance-shaped, to 30 mm long and to 3 mm wide, paler on the lower surface.

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 flowers are yellow, to 10 mm long and hairless, spreading to curved down and mostly subtended by leaves, in up to 20-flowered clusters with the cluster growing on into a leafy shoot. Flowers occur in December to January.

The fleshy drupe it pear-shaped, up to 12 mm long and hangs down.

In the garden

This is a listed threatened species.

Currently, there are no known cultivation details. This species may be cultivated in the future. Grows naturally on sandy soils / and heavier transitional soils and so may need a well-drained soil to thrive.

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.

Plants are likely to be killed by fire and recruitment is solely from seed.

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.

bargoensis – named for the locality of Bargo, NSW – where it was originally found.

It is listed as threatened with extinction at both State and Commonwealth level with the categories of endangered and vulnerable respectively.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persoonia

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedSpeciesApp/profile.aspx?id=10592

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persoonia_bargoensis

By Jeff Howes, edited by Dan Clarke