Pomaderris ferruginea

Rusty Pomaderris

Family: Rhamnaceae

A shrub up to 4 metres tall, spreading to about 2 metres wide, mainly at the highest parts. It has rusty stems.

It is very common and has a widespread geographic distribution, occurring mainly on the south and southern, and central, coasts and tablelands subdivisions of NSW, from the Victorian border northwards, extending into the central western slopes to near Gulgong and Merriwa; west to around Mudgee and west of Bombala. It appears to be scattered as less common along the north coast, extending to Queensland. In Queensland, it extends up the coast and coastal hinterland to Gladstone. In Victoria, it is found mainly in the mid sections of the eastern half, between the very eastern corner and Traralgon; then with a disjunct occurrence between Melbourne and Ballarat (to as far north as Daylesford) with a disjunct patch occurring west of Anglesea.

It is found in a range of habitats, from wet sclerophyll forest to drier sclerophyll woodlands and shrublands. It can be found on a range of soil types from sandy/sandstone to enriched loams and clays. It is often found near watercourses.

Pomaderris spp. have simple and alternate leaves. In this species, leaves are to 10 cm long by 3.5 cm wide, lanceolate to elliptic, with the upper surface hairless and dull-dark green in colour; lower surface virtually white due to dense short hairs and with longer rusty hairs – giving a rusty appearance. 

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 white to yellow, in terminal panicles up to 10 cm in diameter; each flower about 4 mm across with petals present; occurring mainly in September to October. 

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

In the garden

Not a great deal of information is available regarding the propagation of this species. However, it can be found at some local native nurseries. Check for availability.

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.

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

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. 

ferrugineafrom Latin ferrugineo meaning “rust-coloured” – referring to the rusty hairs on stems and leaves. 

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

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

Plants of South Eastern New South Wales (LUCID Online Plant Website / App) Pomaderris ferruginea profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/pomaderris_ferruginea.htm

Australian Native Plants Society Canberra – Pomaderris ferruginea fact sheet https://nativeplantscbr.com.au/wp-content/uploads/ferruginea.pdf 

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 Dan Clarke and Jeff Howes.