Persoonia oxycoccoides


Family: Proteaceae

A spreading to prostrate shrub to 1 metre high.

It has a limited distribution, occurring in an area bounded by Mittagong, Jamberoo Pass and Tallong in the Southern Highlands of NSW (within the Central Tablelands division). It grows in heath and dry sclerophyll eucalypt forest, in sandy soils derived from sandstone.

It is a listed threatened species in NSW

Has smooth bark and sparsely to moderately hairy young branchlets.

Leaves are elliptic to ovate, to 15 mm long and to 6 mm wide, with recurved margins and closely spaced along the stem, giving it a look similar to some melaleucas or leptospermums.

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 produced in leaf axils, arranged in leafy groups which continue to grow after flowering. Flowering occurs from December to April.

In the garden

This is another persoonia which is not readily cultivated. It would be a nice addition to any garden. It is likely not cultivated due to propagation challenges and its threatened status. It grows naturally on a sandy soil and likely requires a free-draining soil if plants can be sourced.


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 Australian First Nations People.

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

This species occasionally hybridises with P. levis where they grow together.

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.

oxycoccoides  – from Latin, resembling the genus Oxycoccus (the former name for Cranberry).

It is listed as being threatened with extinction in the wild at the State level with the category of Endangered.

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

Plants of South East New South Wales – Persoonia oxycoccoides profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/persoonia_oxycoccoides.htm

NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee – Conservation Assessment – Persoonia oxycoccoides https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/-/media/OEH/Corporate-Site/Documents/Animals-and-plants/Scientific-Committee/Determinations/Preliminaries/conservation-assessment-persoonia-oxycoccoides.pdf

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