Pomaderris eriocephala

Woolly-head Pomaderris

Family: Rhamnaceae

A spreading shrub to 3 m tall by 2 m or so wide.

It has a widespread if patchy natural distribution in NSW, growing south from around Severn River Nature Reserve and Pindari Dam and a bit further north-east, near Torrington NSW, south through the tablelands and the coastal hinterland, extending onto the western slopes near Wellington. It occurs as in locations such as near Nundle, Bathurst, Orange, Lithgow and commonly near Canberra. There are records as far east as near Berrima and Lake Burragorang. It extends into Victoria, mostly as far west as a line joining Albury-Wodonga and Traralgon, extending to the far eastern corner. 

It is found mainly in dry sclerophyll woodland and forest, often at higher altitudes, on rocky and heavier soils. 

Pomaderris spp. have simple and alternate leaves. In this species, leaves are to 3 cm long and wide, ovate to circular or elliptic with toothed margins; with upper surface dark green, with deeply impressed veins and sparsely to densely hairy and with lower surface densely white-hairy with longer brown 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 4 mm wide, sometimes with 0 or 5 petals, arranged in in compact head-like clusters, about 2 cm across.

The fruit of Pomaderris is a capsule. In this species, they are about 5 mm long, covered in rusty hairs, producing seeds about 1 mm long.

In the garden

Not a lot of information is available for the cultivation of the species. It can likely be cultivated in the right conditions if plants can be sourced. Check with native nurseries for availability. It makes a nice spreading shrub and would add benefits to any native garden.

Pomaderris, generally, are nor 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.

Also useful for stabilising soils along streams and gullies where they occur.

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, in early to late summer and is difficult to collect. Monitor closely as seeds shed 3-14 days after maturity.

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

This species appears very similar to P. brunnea but is much more common, with upper surfaces of leaves hairy.   

Pomaderris spp. readily regenerate after fire – through the seedbank. Large numbers of seedlings and saplings, of some species, 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.

eriocephalafrom Greek – erion (ἔριον) meaning “wool” and kefali (κεφαλή) meaning “head” – referring to the woolly-appearance of the flower heads. 

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

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

Australian Native Plants Society Canberra – Pomaderris eriocephala profile page https://nativeplantscbr.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Pomaderris-eriocephala.pdf 

Woolcare Thurgoona Landcare Group – Pomaderris eriocephala profile page https://wtlandcare.org/details/pomaderris-eriocephala/

By Dan Clarke and Jeff Howes.