Pultenaea daphnoides

Large-leaf Bush-pea

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Faboideae

It is an upright shrub, growing to about 2 m tall and 1 m wide.

It is found mainly in coastal areas, with some occurrences on the tablelands, along the entirety of the NSW coast and into Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. Commonly on sandstone and sand, but also more enriched soils, in heath, shrubland, as well as dry and wet sclerophyll woodlands and forest.

Pultenaea is a member of the “pea” family. This generally means that leaves are alternate with stipules at the base of the petioles. Pultenaea spp. however, can sometimes have opposite leaves or leaves in whorls of 3.

In this species, leaves are simple and alternate with a distinctive cuneate to obovate shape (widest at apex), to 4 cm long and about 1 cm wide, mid to dark green. The apices of leaves have a small sharp point (mucro). Stipules are present but only to 2 mm long.

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 (at different locations in different species). These bracteoles can also have accompanying stipules.

In this species, flowers are a striking deep yellow with red markings, produced in terminal umbel-like heads, about 3 x 3 cm, in late winter to spring.

The fruit of all peas is a pod. In this species, they are small and flattened, to 7 mm long.

In the garden

A feature or stand-alone plant, gap filler, useful for gardens with sandstone outcrops, insect attracting and colour diversity. Should be pruned lightly after flowering. Give some water in dry periods.

It has a history of being cultivated.

The author has some experience growing plants successfully on a sandy slope in Sydney.
It will tolerate a sunny position but likely does better with some dappled shade and likely needs good drainage.

It is for sale at nurseries such as Sutherland Shire Bushcare Nursery.


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 destroyed 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)

daphnoides – resembling species of the Daphne genus (which translates to “laurel” in Greek).

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

NSW Flora Online – PlantNET – Pultenaea daphnoides profile page    http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Pultenaea~daphnoides

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

Botanic Gardens of South Australia – Plant Selector – Pultenaea daphnoides profile page http://plantselector.botanicgardens.sa.gov.au/Plants/Details/3408

By Dan Clarke