Dillwynia is an endemic genus of 20 or more species which are found in all Australian states. All are small to medium-sized shrubs having typical “pea”-shaped flowers usually in shades or yellow or orange. Similar closely related plants include Pultenaea, Phyllota, Aotus and Daviesia. Pea flowers consist of 4 petals; the “standard”, the “keel” and two “wings” as shown in the diagram.
The flowers of Dillwynia have a “standard” which is broader than it is high. These plants (as well as Acacia) are often colonising species which germinate quickly after fires to stabilize the soil and to provide nitrogen (all are legumes able to “fix” nitrogen from the atmosphere in nodules on their roots).
Dillwynia glaberrima is a small shrub to about 1.5 metres high by 1 metre wide. The small, linear leaves are about 5-20 mm long and rounded in cross-section (terete). The flowers, which appear in spring are about 10 mm in diameter and are yellow with an orange throat. They occur in masses and provide a colourful display. After flowering, the hard seeds develop in small pods.
D.glaberrima is occasionally grown by enthusiasts but is not in wide cultivation. It is suited to well drained soils in a sunny or semi-shaded position and will tolerate heavy pruning. It is tolerant of at least moderate frost.
Propagation from seed is relatively easy following pre-treatment to break the physical dormancy provided by the impervious seed coat. Pre-treatment can be carried out by abrasion or by the use of boiling water (further details can be found in under the “Propagation” tab of the “Pea Family” page). The seed retains viability for many years. Cuttings strike reasonably well using firm, current season’s growth.
Photo: Brian Walters