Pultenaea linophylla

Family: Fabaceae subfamily Faboideae

An erect or prostrate shrub, not overly large, to 1 metre tall and with narrow and wiry spreading branches.

It spreads from just in Queensland in the south-east, through the northern tablelands and coastal inland, to south of Tamworth, with some scattered records closer to the coast to the Taree area, then with some disjunction to Newcastle where it is common down to Sydney, occurring regularly down the coast to the border. It occurs in north-eastern Victoria and south of Traralgon.

It is found mainly in dry sclerophyll woodland and forest as well as heath, on sandstone and granite substrate.

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 alternate, linear to elliptic, or wedge-shaped with the apex broadening with two lobes, to 15 mm long and to 4 mm wide; mid to dark green to slightly blue-green; and with dark brown, triangular to lance-shaped stipules to 2 mm long at the base.

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 the flowers are to 10 mm long, arranged in heads of up to 10 or so, at the branch terminals, yellow to orange in colour. The standard is yellow to orange and to 10 mm wide; the wings are yellow to red and the keel is red to purple. Flowering occurs in most months but mainly from September to October.

The fruit of all peas is a pod. In this species, the pod is to 6 mm long, hairy and flattened.

In the garden

Currently, not a lot of knowledge is currently available regarding this species in cultivation. It may be difficult to establish or may be hard to keep it growing for a decent length of time. It may be more commonly cultivated in the future. It grows on shallow rocky soil naturally and so may need similar conditions to grow well in a garden.

Many members of this genus can be a little difficult to establish in a garden situation. They prefer soil with moderate drainage and semi shaded site. Prune after flowering to maintain a dense bush with more flowers the following season.


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 taxa with some informally recognises and some that are species-complex.

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).

linophylla – from Ancient Greek linos (λίνον) referring to Flax (genus = Linum) and –phylla (φύλλα) meaning ‘leaves’ – referring to the leaves resembling a species of flax.

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

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Pultenaea linophylla profile page

Wikipedia – Pultenaea linophylla profile page

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke