Zieria furfuracea

Family: Rutaceae

A shrub growing to 3 metres tall.

It occurs naturally in NSW, north from Wyong, growing mainly on the North Coast and just into the Northern Tablelands subdivision, extending north into south-east Queensland in Brisbane (Belmont).
It is found on in dry sclerophyll forest as well as rainforest on enriched soils, as well as exposed rocky steep slopes.

Branches have a velvet-texture as well as warty protrusions. Older stems are hairless.

Zieria spp. have leaves arranged in opposite pairs, compound with three leaflets (tri-foliolate) or one leaflet (uni-foliolate). When tri-foliolate, the leaflets are often similar in shape with the middle leaflet often larger, and with leaves usually strongly odorous, green to grey-green.
In this species, the leaves are tri-foliolate, with lanceolate leaflets, to 60 mm long and to 10 mm wide. Both sides of the leaflets are covered with stellate (star-shaped) hairs.

Zieria spp. have flowers arranged in groups (cymose clusters) in the leaf axils and have four sepals joined at the base and four petals, alternating with the sepals. There are four stamens and four fused carpels.
In this species, the flowers are white and small but arranged in many-flowered clusters with the clusters shorter than the leaves, occurring in spring and summer.

Zieria have a fruit described as a schizocarp-capsule which splits into segments called cocci (singular coccus). Fruit generally have four cocci, each containing one or two seeds. In this species, the cocci are also covered with soft stellate hairs.

In the garden

This species is not well known in cultivation and information is limited. It may be more available for cultivation in the future.

It grows naturally on enriched sandy to loam soils as well as rocky environments.

Check local native nurseries for availability.

Many Zieria make interesting garden plants and deserve a place in gardens. They are a member of the Rutaceae family which include the genera Boronia, Philotheca and Crowea, all of which can be challenging to grow.


In common with most members of the Rutaceae, propagation from seed is difficult but cuttings usually strike readily from current season’s growth.

Other information

All occurrences in NSW are treated as Z. furfuracea subsp. furfuracea.

Plants in Queensland are Z. furfuracea subsp. gymnocarpa, which is a critically endangered taxon.

Zieria is a genus strongly odoriferous soft-woody shrubs, or small trees, with over 40 species described, all of which are endemic to Australia except for one species which is found in New Caledonia. They occur in all Australian states except Western Australia but the genus is under review and a number of species are yet to be described or the description published. NSW currently has about 34 species; several listed as threatened.

Zieria are similar to the better known genus Boronia but can be distinguished by the number of stamens in the flowers – four and eight in Boronia.

Most Zieria would die in a bushfire and regenerate from seeds. Suckering from roots may be possible.

Zierianamed in honour of Jan Zier (d. 1793), by Sir James E. Smith. Zier was a Polish botanist and cryptogam (ferns, mosses, lichen and fungi) specialist, for which there is little information online. He assisted Jacob Friedrich Ehrhart, the Director of the Botanical Garden of Hannover.

furfuracea – Latin – meaning “bran”, “mealy” or “scaly”, which refers to the appearance of the stellate hairs on the leaves.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild. The taxon, subsp. gymnocarpa, is a critically endangered subspecies in Queensland.

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

Wikipedia – Zieria and Zieria furfuracea profile page                        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zieria                               https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zieria_furfuracea

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke