Phebalium glandulosum

Distribution Map
Family: Rutaceae
Distribution: Open forests, mallee and heath in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, usually in drier areas.
Common Name: Desert phebalium
Derivation of Name: Phebalium...from phebalios, a Greek term for a fig.
glandulosum.... bearing glands, referring to the conspicuous glands on the edges of the leaves
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild at the species level although var.eglandulosum from the Torrington area in northern New South Wales is listed as threatened in the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act.

General Description:

The genus Phebalium consists of 25 species, all but one being endemic to Australia with the majority occurring in the eastern half of the continent. Most are small shrubs with very aromatic foliage and producing clusters of small, star-like flowers in the cream to bright yellow range. Similar genera include Leionema, Nematolepis and Rhadinothamnus. A number of species in the latter genera were previously classified under Phebalium.

Phebalium glandulosum
Phebalium glandulosum
Photo: Brian Walters

Phebalium glandulosum is usually a shrub from 0.5 to about 1 metre high (sometimes taller) with 4 recognised subspecies. It has stems and leaves that have prominent warty glands. The leaves are linear to cuneate (wedge shaped) from 5 to 25 mm long. The individual pale to bright yellow flowers are five-petalled with long stamens. They are relatively small but they occur in clusters of a dozen or more together and are very conspicuous. Flowering usually occurs in early spring.

P.glandulosum is not common in general cultivation and is grown mainly by Australian plant enthusiasts. It is a hardy and attractive plant for gardens in temperate and sub-tropical areas. It prefers well drained soils and withstands dry conditions once established. The plant performs best in a well drained, sunny to slightly sheltered position (but not dense shade).

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

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