Pomaderris andromedifolia

Family: Rhamnaceae

A medium shrub to 3 metres high, spreading to about 2 metres across.

It is widespread natural distribution in Australia; in NSW, it has an interesting spread, very common on the central and southern coast and tablelands areas; then on the North Coast it is rare but it spreads across the northern tablelands; overall from as far north as areas around Undercliff Falls (NE of Tenterfield), extending southwards to the Victorian border (with a disjunction between Tamworth and the lower Hunter Valley) and as far west as near Boggabri, Orange and the Canberra.

It extends into Queensland, but only just – south of Stanthorpe and north-east of Woodenbong as well as at Hell Hole Gorge (north-east of Warwick).

It is typically found in open dry sclerophyll woodland and forest, often on rocky substrates, sandy soils and sandstone. 

Pomaderris spp. have simple and alternate leaves. In this species, leaves are to 5 cm long and 1.5 cm wide, narrow-elliptic to lanceolate, or rarely oblanceolate; with the upper surface hairless and mid to dark green; lower surface whitish to rusty – often with longer rusty hairs overlying a dense covering of short white hairs.

Pomaderris produce 5-merous bisexual flowers with 5 sepals, petals and stamens and 1 carpel; often with flower petals falling off early or not produced at all; with flowers first clustered in small cymes which are then grouped into terminal panicles or corymbs or heads/clusters.

In this species, flowers are cream to yellow, about 2.5 mm across, in terminal panicles to 4 cm diameter and 8 cm long; produced mainly in spring. 

The fruit of Pomaderris is a capsule. In this species, they are about 5 mm wide, with sepals persisting. 

In the garden

This species is known to be cultivated but not to a large degree. It can be grown as a garden shrub. [This Editor has seen it “trialled” in council-nursery gardens and by some Sutherland members of APS, as well as Sylvan Grove Native Garden in Sydney].

Species of this genus would add benefits to any garden such as attracting different insects with flowers. This species makes a nice rounded tall shrub with generous foliage. It is a good tall screen plant with flowers well displayed. Responds to hard pruning. It is a very showy plant when large and in full flower. 

Pomaderris spp., generally, have not being widely cultivated although they have much to offer the native garden as most have attractive foliage and colourful flowers that would make it an asset in any garden. Availability is one problem due mainly to difficulties in propagation. However, some native nurseries frequently have them for sale. At this point in time, several gardeners on Gardening Australia have showcased species of this genus growing successfully and beautifully in their gardens.

In the garden they require moist, well drained soils in a sunny or lightly shaded position.

They can suffer from wet feet and general dieback.

They should be grown more often. Shrubs in this genus make a great substitute for exotics such as *Cotoneaster, some *Prunus sp. and other similar exotics. 


Propagation can be carried out from seed which germinates well following treatment with boiling water. Seed is shed from the plant when ripe and is difficult to collect.

Cuttings of hardened, current seasons growth can be successful but they are usually very slow to strike and the success rate is usually well below 100%

Other information

There are two recognised subspecies:

  • subsp. andromedifolia – slightly longer leaves leaves and bracts that fall of the inflorescence before flowering – found all over the range.
  • subsp. confusa – typically not found on the northern tablelands and into Queensland; shorter leaves with bracts that persist on the flowers. This subspecies is listed as endangered in the Victoria and is known from one site where it may now be lost.

Pomaderris spp. readily regenerate after fire – through the seedbank. Large numbers of seedlings and saplings can be seen in some forest and woodland areas after fire. 

Pomaderris is a genus of about 70 to 80 species found in Australia and New Zealand only. Australia has about 65 native species with 61 species endemic; found in all states except Northern Territory. NSW currently has about 47 species – some of which are species complex. 

Pomaderris – from the Ancient Greek poma (πῶμα) meaning a “covering” or “lid” and derris (δέρρις) (pronounced therris) meaning “leather”, referring to membranous valves which sometimes cover the capsules.

andromedifoliahaving leaves like those of Andromeda, a genus of the Ericaceae family – sometimes called ‘bog-rosemaries”.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild. The subspecies taxon confusa is listed as threatened in Victoria. It may now be extinct there. 

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

Australian Native Plants Society Australia (ANPSA) Pomaderris andromedifolia profile page http://anpsa.org.au/p-and.html

Plants of South Eastern New South Wales – LUCID Identification Website / Mobile app – profile page for Pomaderris andromedifolia https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/pomaderris_andromedifolia.htm

By Dan Clarke and Jeff Howes.