Pimelea linifolia

Slender Rice Flower

Family: Thymelaeaceae

A variable and very common shrub, prostrate to erect, to 1.5 metres tall.

It is widespread in all states except Western Australia and the Northern Territory and grows on a wide range of soils in full sun or part shade. Grows from the coast out to the western plains in NSW.

Often found on sandy soils, in heathland, shrubland as well as dry sclerophyll woodlands and heathlands

Pimelea spp. have simple leaves (opposite or alternate). In this species, the leaves are in opposite-decussate pairs, glabrous, narrow egg-shaped to elliptic, to 40 mm long and to about 1 cm wide, green to blue-green.

The flowers are white, sometimes pink, mostly 10–20 mm long. They are arranged in heads of between seven and sixty, positioned terminally on the stems. Some flowers are bisexual and others are female, the female flowers shorter, mostly appearing in Spring but often seen all year around.

The fruit is a green nut, about 3–5 mm long, and excrete oil.

In the garden

In a garden situation, it prefers a well-drained soil and prune after flowering to keep compact and enhance flowering. Dappled or full sun.

Can be grown in a mass display on a raised bed or rockery with other plants to good effect.

No reported pests or diseases.

A prostrate form grows in the ACT, so may be frost hardy.

One recent cultivar is ‘White Jewel’, growing 40 cm high and 50 to 80 cm wide with white flowers.


From cuttings and strikes with good success. Very hard from seed.

Other information

The bark of P. linifolia can be processed into fine strong thread for catching the bogong moth (Agrotis infusa). This string, called a ‘Bushman’s bootlace’, is produced by a traditional method that involves wetting, drying, beating and rolling the material.

Note: it is known to be toxic to animals if eaten.

Pimeleas would mostly regenerate from seed after fire.

Pimelea is a genus of about 110 species, occurring in Australia and New Zealand only. Australia has about 90 species, occurring in all states and territories. NSW currently has about 32 species – which includes some species-complexes and some which are threatened with extinction.

Pimelea – from Ancient Gk. pimele (πιμέλη) meaning “fat” or “lard”, presumably referring to the oily seeds or fleshy cotyledons.

linifolia – Latin – having leaves like the genus Linum, known as ‘flax’.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

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

Wikipedia – Pimelea linifolia profile page                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pimelea_linifolia

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke