Persoonia oblongata

Geebung

Family: Proteaceae

An erect or spreading shrub to 3 metres tall.

It grows in dry sclerophyll forest, woodland and heath on sandstone, between Springwood and Richmond, extending to Wisemans Ferry, to Yengo National Park and Howes Valley and west to Rylstone, on the central coast and tablelands divisions of NSW.

Has smooth bark and with hairy young growth.

Leaves are narrow-elliptic to broadly ovate, to 60 mm long and to 25 mm wide, with wavy margins and pointed tips, more or less hairy when young and the upper and lower surfaces are the same mid-green 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 singly in leaf axils, sometimes forming leafy groups up to 200 mm long. Flowers are about 2 cm long by 1.5 cm wide. Flowering occurs from October to April.

The fruits are drupes, green and mostly round in shape.

In the garden

Another persoonia which is not known in cultivation. It is a very attractive plant in bushland and would be a nice garden plant if it can be grown. The lack of cultivation is likely due to propagation challenges. Grows naturally on sandstone soils. May be difficult to grow but worth a try if plants can be sourced.

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 from seed after fire.

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.

oblongata – is derived from the Latin word oblongus meaning ‘longer than broad’, referring to the oblong leaves of the species.

Not known to be at risk in the wild.

 

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

https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/persoonia_oblongata.htm

https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Persoonia~oblongata

By Jeff Howes, edited by Dan Clarke