Isopogon is a genus of around 35 species, all occurring only in Australia. They are found in the southern half of the continent in temperate regions. Most are small to medium sized shrubs having flower clusters arranged in globular heads. The fruits are also globular in shape giving rise to the common name of “drumsticks”. Some are also called “coneflowers” although this name is more usual in the related genus Petrophile.
Isopogon ceratophyllus is a small shrub of up to a metre high by a similar width. The prickly leaves are much divided into linear segments and are about 45 mm long. The yellow flowers occur in spring at the ends of the branches but may be partly obscured by the foliage. The flower clusters are around 30 mm in diameter and are followed by the spherical (barrel-shaped) seed pods which remain on the plant for an indefinite period.
This is a hardy species for temperate climates but is not widely cultivated. It tends to be slow growing and prefers moist, well drained, sandy to sandy loam soils in full sun or light shade. The species develops a lignotuber and will tolerate severe pruning if needed.
Propagation from seed is relatively easy. Cuttings of hardened, current season’s growth also strike successfully but it is often difficult to find suitable material on the plant.
Photo: Brian Walters