Pultenaea blakelyi

Blakely's Bush Pea

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Faboideae

A shrub to 4 metres tall, by about 1 to 2 metres wide, with stems sparsely to moderately hairy.

It has a mostly coastal distribution in NSW, growing as far south as Merimbula on the South Coast but also found inland in Kosciuszko NP and nearby; extending north up the coast to mainly Myall Lakes; (however, there are records west of Coffs Harbour and Lismore). It extends into the north-eastern parts of Victoria, with a few records spread over much of southern Victoria.

It grows mainly in dry to wet sclerophyll forest, usually on sandy soils.

Pultenaea is a member of the “pea” family. This generally means that leaves are alternate with stipules (leaf-like appendages) at the base of the petioles. Pultenaea spp. however, can sometimes have opposite leaves or leaves in whorls of 3. One of the key features of Pultenaea is that the stipules are fused behind the axillary bud.

In this species, the leaves are mostly opposite, narrow-elliptic to obovate, flat to concave, to 20 mm long and to 2.5 mm wide, tapering to a blunt point and paler on the underside; pale green to blue-green in colour.

Flowers are, of course, pea-shaped (a term sometimes used is papilionate), with 5 petals in a fixed arrangement; the main back petal is called the “standard”, two lateral petals called “wings” and two fused petals at the bottom called the “keel” (in which the anthers and one carpel tend to be hidden). Pultenaea spp. sometimes have bracts surrounding the inflorescences, and bracteoles attached to the calyx tube or just below on the pedicels (at different locations in different species). These bracteoles can also have accompanying stipules.

In this species, flowers are yellow, up to 1 cm long and produced in the leaf axils at the ends of the branches, with the standard about 1 cm across, bearing red markings; appearing in Winter to Summer.

The fruit of all peas is a pod. In this species, they are ovate, sparsely hairy, smooth, to 10 mm long.

In the garden

Not a lot of knowledge is currently available regarding this species in cultivation. It may be more commonly cultivated in the future. It grows on sandy soils mostly and so may need similar conditions to thrive. It is known to be sold in nurseries and seed is also available online.

Many members of this genus can be a little difficult to establish in a garden situation. They prefer soil with moderate drainage and a semi-shaded site. Prune after flowering to maintain compactness.


Is carried out by either cuttings or seed and results are reasonably good from both methods. Cuttings should be from newer wood with the soft tips removed.

A lot of seed is by insects, resulting in a low number of viable seeds.

Before seeds are sown, they must be treated by chipping, scarifying or hot water, which are all satisfactory methods to aid germination.

Other information

There are approximately 120 species of Pultenaea, making it the largest pea-genus in Australia. They are endemic to Australia and occurring in all States except the Northern Territory. NSW, currently has about 95-100 taxa with a large set informally recognised. This genus contains some species complexes and is under taxonomic revision.

Pultenaea spp. will generally regenerate from seed after fire.

Pultenaea – is named in honour of Dr Richard Pulteney (1730–1801) – an English botanist who published a biography of Carl von Linne (Linnaeus).

blakelyi – after W. F. Blakely (1875-1941), who was an Australian botanist and collector, working on a variety of Australian taxa.

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

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Pultenaea blakelyi profile page

Australian Plants Society – Sutherland Branch – Coastal Plants of the Royal National Park CD – Pultenaea blakelyi profile page

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 Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke