Persoonia linearis

Persoonia linearis, commonly known as the narrow-leaved geebung, is a shrub native to New South Wales and Victoria in eastern Australia. It reaches 3 m (9.8 ft), or occasionally 5 m (16 ft), in height and has thick, dark grey papery bark. The leaves are, as the species name suggests, more or less linear in shape, and are up to 9 cm (3.5 in) long, and 0.1 to 0.7 cm (0.039 to 0.276 in) wide. The small yellow flowers appear in summer, autumn and early winter (December to July), followed by small green fleshy fruit known as drupes. Within the genus Persoonia, it is a member of the Lanceolata group of 58 closely related species. P. linearis interbreeds with several other species where they grow together.

shrub in the family Proteaceae native to New South Wales and Victoria in eastern Australia

Narrow-leaved geebung
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Proteales
Family: Proteaceae
Genus: Persoonia
P. linearis
Binomial name
Persoonia linearis

Range of P. linearis in New South Wales and extending into Victoria in eastern Australia
  • Persoonia phyllostachysGand.

    Persoonia breviusculaGand.
    Persoonia walteriGand.
    Pentadactylon angustifoliumC.F.Gaertn.
    Linkia linearis(Andrews) Kuntze

    Persoonia angustifoliaKnight [nom. illeg.]
    Persoonia filifoliaA.Dietr. [nom. illeg.]
    Persoonia pentadactylonSteud. [nom. illeg.]

Found in dry sclerophyll forest on sandstone-based nutrient-deficient soils, P. linearis is adapted to a fire-prone environment; the plants resprout epicormic buds from beneath their thick bark after bushfires. The fruit are consumed by vertebrates such as kangaroo, possums and currawongs. As with other members of the genus, P. linearis is rare in cultivation as it is very hard to propagate by seed or by cuttings, but once propagated, it adapts readily, preferring acidic soils with good drainage and at least a partly sunny aspect.

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Habit(centre plant with dark trunk), in open woodland, Georges River National Park

English botanist and artist Henry Cranke AndrewsdescribedPersoonia linearis in 1799, in the second volume of his Botanists Repository, Comprising Colour’d Engravings of New and Rare Plants.[1] He had been given a plant in flower by J. Robertson of Stockwell, who had grown it from seed in 1794.[2] The species name is the Latinlinearis “linear”, referring to the shape of the leaves.[3]

Meanwhile, German botanist Karl Friedrich von Gaertner had coined the name Pentadactylon angustifolium in 1807 from a specimen in the collection of Joseph Banks to describe what turned out to be the same species.[4] The genus name derived from the Greekpenta- “five” and dactyl “fingers”, and refers to the five-lobed cotyledons.[5] The horticulturist Joseph Knight described this species as the narrow-leaved persoonia (Persoonia angustifolia) in his controversial 1809 work On the cultivation of the plants belonging to the natural order of Proteeae,[6] but the binomial name is illegitimate as it postdated Andrews’ description and name.[7]Carl Meissner described a population from the Tambo River in Victoria as a separate variety, Persoonia linearis var. latior in 1856,[8] but no varieties or subspecies are recognised.[1] German botanist Otto Kuntze proposed the binomial name Linkia linearis in 1891,[9] from Cavanilles‘ original description of the genus Linkia but the name was eventually rejected in favour of Persoonia.[5] In 1919, French botanist Michel Gandoger described three species all since reallocated to P. linearis; P. phyllostachys from material collected at Mount Wilson sent to him by the herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, and P. walteri and P. breviuscula from Melbourne-based plant collector Charles Walter, whose records have been questioned.[10] The short-leaved material of P. breviuscula was noted to have been collected in Queensland but this is now thought to have been incorrectly recorded.[11] Gandoger described 212 taxa of Australian plants, almost all of which turned out to be species already described.[10]

In 1870, George Bentham published the first infrageneric arrangement of Persoonia in Volume 5 of his landmark Flora Australiensis. He divided the genus into three sections, placing P. linearis in P. sect. Amblyanthera, and recognising Pentadactylon angustifolium as the same species, after examining the specimen in the Banksian Herbarium.[12] He described a varietysericea from the Shoalhaven River region and also noted the discrepancy in Robert Brown‘s description of the species. Brown had noted the bark to be smooth, in contrast to Ferdinand von Mueller and others who recorded the bark as layered.[12]

The genus was reviewed by Peter Weston for the Flora of Australia treatment in 1995, and P. linearis was placed in the Lanceolata group,[11] a group of 54 closely related species with similar flowers but very different foliage. These species will often interbreed with each other where two members of the group occur,[13] and hybrids with P. chamaepeuce, P. conjuncta, P. curvifolia, P. lanceolata, P. media, five subspecies of P. mollis, P. myrtilloides subsp. cunninghamii, P. oleoides, P. pinifolia and P. sericea have been recorded.[11] Robert Brown initially described the hybrid with P. levis as a species “Persoonia lucida“,[3] which is now known as Persoonia × lucida,[14] and has been recorded from the southeast forests of the New South Wales south coast.[15]

Bentham wrote in 1870 that the name geebung, derived from the Dharug language word geebung or jibbong,[16][5] which had been used by the indigenous people for the fruits of this species.[12] It goes by the common names of narrow-leaved geebung or narrow-leaf geebung.[1]Naam-burra is an aboriginal name from the Illawarra region.[17]

. . . Persoonia linearis . . .

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