Persoonia recedens


Family: Proteaceae

A typically small prostrate to spreading shrub but reaching a height to 1.5 metres with a spread to 1 metre or more.

It is confined to an area between the Newnes Plateau (north of Lithgow) and Blackheath in NSW (eastern part of the Central Tablelands division) and grows on sandstone outcrops and rocky areas in dry sclerophyll forest and woodland.

It has smooth bark and sparsely to moderately hairy young branchlets.

Leaves are narrow-oblong to narrow-elliptic, to 20 mm long and to 3.5 mm wide, clustered along the stem, somewhat resembling 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 arranged in leaf axils, in leafy groups of up to 15, to about 7 cm long. The flowering part turns into a leafy shoot and continues to grow after flowering. Flowers are about 1.5 cm wide by 2 cm long, occurring from December to January.

The fruit is a drupe, about 1 cm long.

In the garden

Another persoonia that is not readily known in cultivation. This is likely due to difficulties with propagation.

This is a very attractive plant in the wild and will hopefully be cultivated one day. Likely needs a sandy soil to do well as it grows naturally on sandstone.


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 provided by Sutherland Shire Bushcare).

Other information

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.

Likely regenerates from seed after fire.

Persoonia is a genus of about 100 hundred species, all endemic to Australia, occurring in all states and territories. NSW currently has around 51 species – some of which are species complex with many subspecies taxa, and some which are threatened with extinction.

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.

recedens – Latin meaning ‘withdrawing’ or ‘retreating’ which likely refers to its limited habitat up in the general Blue Mountains area.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild, but is confined to a small area in NSW.

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

Wikipedia – Persoonia recedens profile page                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persoonia_recedens

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke