Pimelea linifolia

Slender Rice Flower

Family: Thymelaeaceae

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.

Variable shrub, prostrate to erect and more erect to 1.5 m in forests and heaths.

The leaves are glabrous, narrow egg-shaped to elliptic, to 40 mm long and to about 1 cm wide.

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. Flowers in Spring.

The fruit is a green nut about 3–5 mm long.

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

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.

Likely regenerates from seed after fire.

Not considered at risk in the wild.

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 which means ‘flax’.


By Jeff Howes