Pomaderris velutina

Velvet Pomaderris

Family: Rhamnaceae

A slender shrub to 3 m high, spreading to several metres wide potentially. 

The young stems have long and spreading rusty hairs. 

It has a scattered, moderately-large distribution in NSW but, is rare in occurrence; found at Lake Burragorang, west of Sydney and then with disjunction to the south on the southern tablelands, in the ACT; around Tumut and Kosciuszko National Park near Kiandra and Khancoban, as well as south-east of Bredbo and Cooma (Kydra Reefs, Kosciuszko National Park). It is more common in Victoria, in the east of the State between Albury-Wodonga – Jamieson – Traralgon and Deddick Valley. 

It is generally found along streams on rocky substrate or alluvial soils in dry sclerophyll woodland and forest. 

Pomaderris spp. have simple and alternate leaves. In this species, leaves are oblong to elliptic, to about 40 mm long and about 20 mm wide, upper surface mid green and hairy and lower surface pale grey-green with scattered long 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, pale yellow flowers are produced in loose panicles, about 5 cm long by 2 cm wide; each flower about 3 mm across with petals usually present; produced mainly in late spring. 

The fruit of Pomaderris is a capsule. In this species, they are about 5 mm long, covered in long white to rusty hairs, producing seeds about 2 mm long.

In the garden

Not a lot of information can be found regarding the cultivation potential of this plant. It may be successfully cultivated but only little information has been expressed online and elsewhere. Check with native nurseries for availability. It is an attractive plant in terms of flowers and foliage. It can likely be grown on an enriched soil in semi-shade with reliable moisture and 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, 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

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. 

velutina – from Latin meaning “like velvet” – referring to the texture of the leaves.

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

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

Woolshed Thurgoona Landcare Group – Pomaderris velutina information sheet https://wtlandcare.org/details/pomaderris-velutina/

Australian Native Plants Society Canberra – Pomaderris velutina profile page (pdf) https://nativeplantscbr.com.au/articles/pomaderris-velutina/ 

By Dan Clarke and Jeff Howes.