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Australian Plants online

On the Brink - 10

A series on Australian Plants at risk in their natural habitat.

Persoonia nutans

Persoonia nutans is a very rare species native to the Cumberland Plain in western Sydney and much of its habitat has been cleared for urban development. It survives in a few remnant populations in urban areas and in somewhat larger populations in relatively undisturbed crown land in the far west of the Sydney area. Threats to P.nutans include: inappropriate fire regimes, mining, vegetation clearance, vehicular damage, rubbish dumping, exploitation and weed invasion. The recently gazetted Castlereagh Nature Reserve preserves probably the largest population.

The species is listed as endangered under the Australian Government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This listing means that the species faces "a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future, as determined in accordance with the prescribed criteria". Under the ROTAP* coding system it is classified as "2ECi-". The species is also listed as endangered on the NSW Threatened Species Act, 1995

Persoonia nutans   

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Persoonia nutans is a small shrub of about 1 metre in height or sometimes slightly higher. The narrow, linear foliage is about 20mm long. The small yellow flowers are borne in the leaf axils on pedicles (stalks) up to 12mm long and are pendulous in habit. They occur mainly in summer. The flowers are followed by fleshy, green fruits (also pendulous) about 7mm long by 5mm wide.

P.nutans is an attractive garden plant. The flowers, although small, are well displayed because of the fairly open growth habit of the plant. It would be ideal for smaller gardens. It is native to heavier soils and, while it will not tolerate waterlogging, it is adaptable to a wide range of soils from sandy loams to clays. Like most persoonias, the species is difficult to propagate from both seed and cuttings.

* ROTAP: Rare or Threatened Australian Plants (1988). J.D.Briggs and J.H.Leigh, CSIRO Division of Plant Industry (Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Special Publication No.14).


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Australian Plants online - September 2004
Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants