Persoonia marginata

Clandulla Geebung, Geebung

Family: Proteaceae

A spreading shrub that grows to 0.5 metre high and up to 1 metre across.

It grows in dry sclerophyll forest and woodland communities on sandstone between Kandos and Clarence in the western Blue Mountains of NSW on the Central Tablelands.

There are disjunct (separate) populations including Clandulla, Ben Bullen and Sunny Corner State Forests, as well as Turon and Gardens of Stone National Parks in NSW.

It is a listed threatened species in the wild.

Young branches and leaves are moderately hairy, losing their hair as they grow. The leaves are to 40 mm long, to 25 mm wide, alternate and are elliptic to egg-shaped with the narrower end towards the base, mid-green in colour.

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 arranged in groups of between two and four mostly at the base of leaves. Flowers are about 2 cm across from 2 cm long, occurring in January and February.

The fruits are smooth green drupes.

In the garden

This species is not known to be cultivated, likely due to its threatened status. It may become available for cultivation in the future.


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 (information from Sutherland Shire Bushcare).

Other information

Persoonia is a genus of about 100 species, all of which are endemic to Australia. NSW currently has 49 species – some of which are species-complex.

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 First Nations Peoples of Australia.

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

The fire response of adult plants varies, sometimes resprouting after fire and at other times killed by fire. Can regenerate from the seedbank.

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.

marginata – Latin meaning ‘furnished with a border’ – referring to the pronounced edges/margins of the leaves.

This species is listed as threatened with extinction in the wild, at the State and Commonwealth level, with the category of Vulnerable.

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage – Persoonia marginata profile page https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedSpeciesApp/profile.aspx?

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

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.