Pomaderris ligustrina

Privet Pomaderris

Family: Rhamnaceae

Shrub to 2 metres high, usually with an erect habit, spreading to 1 metre wide.

The stems can be rusty with long spreading simple hairs and a shorter cover of stellate (star-shaped) hairs. 

It has a widespread distribution in NSW, mostly along the coast as well as central and northern tablelands, from near the Victorian border (south of Eden), northwards to the Queensland border, extending west to areas such as Manilla, Widden Valley (NE of Kandos), and Pheasant Mountain (NE of Guyra). It only just occurs in Queensland, with scant records east of Rathdowney and south of Stanthorpe as well as Ballandean.

It is a listed threatened species in Victoria with the category of endangered.

It is typically found in wet to dry sclerophyll woodland and forest and also collected in rainforest, on a range of soils from sandy to shale and enriched loams. 

Pomaderris spp. have simple and alternate leaves. In this species, leaves are mostly lanceolate to narrow-elliptic, rarely ovate to somewhat circular, to 8 cm long and to 2 cm wide; upper surfaces are dark green and glabrous and lower surfaces are strongly rusty-coloured, due to rusty 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 yellow, produced in loose terminal panicles with the peduncles, pedicels and flower buds covered in white hairs; each flower about 4 mm across and with petals absent; mainly produced in spring.  

The fruit of Pomaderris is a capsule. In this species, the capsule is about 5 mm long with long silvery hairs.

In the garden

Not a lot of information can be found on the cultivation and/or growing prospects of this species. It may be cultivated but results are not widely known. Check with native nurseries for availability. It is a very attractive plant and can likely be grown on a range of soils with good drainage. 

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

Two subspecies are currently recognised in NSW:

– subsp. ligustrina – with leaves to 8 cm long, lanceolate to narrow-elliptic, more than twice as long as broad; occurring over much of the range;

– subsp. latifolia – with leaves to 3 cm long, broad-ovate to ± circular, less than twice as long as broad; occurring on the northern tablelands and north coast only.

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. 

ligustrinanamed for its resemblance to the genus Ligustrum – the notorious privet genus of the family Oleaceae. 

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild in New South Wales. It is a listed threatened species in Victoria with the category of endangered.

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

Wikipedia – Pomaderris ligustrina profile page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomaderris_ligustrina 

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.