A shrub reaching 5 metres tall (often seen smaller), spreading to several metres across.
It has a mostly coastal distribution in NSW, found as far south as the Victorian border on the coast, commonly between Bermagui and the north of Sydney and then patchy to the Queensland border. Plants are found as far west as Lithgow and Putty and areas such as Bulahdelah. It extends into Queensland, along the coast to Maryborough. It is very common in Victoria, found through most of the State, mainly in the southern half, as far north as Shepparton and Lake Hindmarsh. It is found in South Australia, around Mt Gambier, Adelaide and on Kangaroo Island. It is then found in Western Australia, mostly on the west and south coast and coastal inland, from east of Esperance, covering the south-west corner and north to Kalbarri.
It is typically found in moist-swampy situations on boggy ground or perched water tables, usually on sandy soil in heathland, shrubland and low dry sclerophyll woodland.
This is the only species of the genus (mono-specific). It is characterised by having foliage mainly comprised of cylindrical stems which appear leafless; mid-green in colour. Leaves, however, are present – alternate and compound with 1 to 3 leaflets; leaflets oblong to linear-lanceolate, to 5 cm long and 1.5 cm wide; mid-green to grey-green, with mature leaves often reduced to slender-thin petioles which can reach 25 cm long. The cylindrical branches can be upright to weeping and spreading.
Being a pea-member, 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). In this species, flowers are produced in racemes up to 20 cm long by up to 10 cm wide; bright-yellow to orange in colour, with a red keel, each flower about 1 cm across; usually in spring to summer.
The fruit of Viminaria is a pod, to 5 mm long, oval and black in colour containing one seed, to 3 mm long.
This species can be cultivated but success can be mixed.
It is a fast-growing plant in the garden, but can lose vigour once about 5 or 10 years old.
This Editor grew one in a moist garden-spot in full sun for a while but it died after about 2 years.
To grow and flower at its best, it prefers an acidic to neutral soil with ample moisture in a sunny or part shaded position. Adaptable to drier conditions if given ample water. It reportedly needs regular moisture to do well.
Tends to grow taller in sheltered positions.
Worth growing for its showy flowers and interesting foliage.
Propagation is easy from scarified seed by covering with boiling water for 24 hours and discarding any seeds still floating on the surface. Plants and seed are available commercially.
Plants grown from seed are sturdier than cutting-grown specimens
This plant grows in fire-prone areas and likely regenerates from seed after fire.
Viminaria juncea is the single species in the genus Viminaria – endemic to Australia .
Viminaria – from the Latin vimineus meaning “switch” as in made from twig/branches and also refers to “wickerwork” – referring to the twig-like foliage of the genus.
juncea – from the Latin juncus meaning “rush”, hence “rush-like”.
This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.
NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Viminaria juncea profile page: https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Viminaria~juncea
Plants of South Eastern New South Wales – LUCID Online Plant Identification App/Website – Viminaria juncea profile page: https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/viminaria_juncea.htm
Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.