Persoonia hindii

Geebung

Family: Proteaceae

A small shrub to 1 metre tall, with numerous stems arising from underground rhizomes.

It is has a very small, restricted occurrence, confined to the Newnes Plateau in the Blue Mountains, north and east of Lithgow in NSW and grows in dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands on sandy soils.

It is listed as threatened with extinction in the wild.

The bark is smooth on grey old stems and dull red on new stems, covered in grey hairs.

Leaves are alternate to spiral or whorled, linear to oblong, to 30 mm long and to 2 mm wide, somewhat succulent. Young leaves are slightly hairy, losing their hairs as they age.

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 arranged solitarily, or in small groups of up to 15 in leaf axils and on the ends of branches, with a reduced leaf at the base of each flower. Tepals to 15 mm long, which are fused at the base but with the upper parts rolled back (reflexed), with overall flowers 2 cm long x 2 cm wide.

Flowering occurs mainly from January to March.

The drupes are dull green, to 15 cm long and about 6 mm wide, turning yellow when mature.

In the garden

No cultivation information is available. This plant is not known to be propagated, mostly due to this plant being a threatened species. It may become available for cultivation in the future. It grows naturally on a sandy soil with moderate rainfall.

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.

Likely regenerates after fire through a combination of seed germination and the suckering capability of the stems.

This species was only discovered in 1989 and all known locations occur within Newnes State Forest where there are only nine populations with each population consisting of only one to a small number of individual plants that grow clonally through rhizomatous growth. Hence each location may comprise only one to a few individuals.

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.

hindii – honours botanist Peter Hind (1947-), who first collected this species in 1989.

This species is listed as threatened with extinction under NSW state legislation with the category of endangered.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persoonia
https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspeciesapp/profile.aspx?id=10594
https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Persoonia~hindii

By Jeff Howes, edited by Dan Clarke