Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Endangered
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice for Persoonia hirsuta (Hairy Persoonia) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2014cn) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, the approved conservation advice for the species provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against key threats (29/04/2014).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NSW:Persoonia hirsuta (a spreading to decumbent shrub) - endangered species listing. NSW Scientific Committeee - final determination (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 1998b) [Internet].
NSW:Hairy Geebung - profile (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2005io) [Internet].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): August 2014 list)
Scientific name Persoonia hirsuta [19006]
Family Proteaceae:Proteales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Pers.
Infraspecies author  
Reference Synopsis Plantarum 1: 118 (1 Apr.-15 Jun. 1805).
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Other illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Persoonia hirsuta

Persoonia hirsuta has been split into two subspecies: Persoonia hirsuta subsp. hirsuta and Persoonia hirsuta subsp. evoluta. The subspecies intergrade along a cline (Weston & Johnson 1991).

Persoonia hirsuta is a spreading to decumbent shrub 0.3–1.5 m tall (Harden 1991; Weston 1995b) with yellow flowers (Blombery & Maloney 1992). Young branchlets are moderately to densely hairy. Leave are 0.5–1.4 cm long and 0.75–4 mm wide, convex with recurved to revolute margins. Leaves are oblong to narrow in shape and crowded along the stems. Groups of flowers grow into a leafy shoot. The tubular flowers are yellow or orange and about 1 cm long and also hairy. Flowering is generally in summer (NSW DECCW 1998b, 2005io).

Persoonia hirsutais patchily distributed on the Central Coast and Tablelands of NSW, in an area bounded by Putty, Glen Davis and Gosford in the north, and Royal National Park (NP) and Hill Top in the south. The species occurs in the in the Sydney coastal area (Gosford, Berowra, Manly and Royal NP), the Blue Mountains area (Springwood, Lithgow and Putty) and the Southern Highlands (Balmoral, Buxton, Yanderra and Hill Top) (NSW DECCW 2005io).

The two Persoonia hirsutasubspecies intergrade extensively from the lower Blue Mountains to near the coast (Harden 1991), and distribution includes:

  • P. hirsuta subsp. hirsuta occurs from Gosford south to Royal NP within 20 km of the coast and below 300 m altitude (Weston 1995b; Weston & Johnson 1991). Localities in which specimens have been collected include: Gosford; Sir Edward Hallstrom Reserve, Cowan; Roseville East; North Head; and Royal NP (Weston 1995b; Weston & Johnson 1991).
  • P. hirsuta subsp. evoluta is sporadically distributed from Putty District to Glen Davis to Hill Top at 350–600 m altitude (Harden 1991; Weston 1995b; Weston & Johnson 1991). Localities in which specimens have been collected include: east of Putty; Green Gully 1.7 km south of Glen Davis; Balmoral, near Hill Top; and Hill Top (Weston 1995b; Weston & Johnson 1991).

Persoonia hirsuta populations generally consist of one to three plants, with the exception of two locations with 10–20 plants (NSW DECCW 1998b). One population of 88 plants has been recorded near Appin (FloraSearch 2009).

Persoonia hirsuta was introduced to cultivation in the UK in the 1800s. It is rare in cultivation in Australia and mainly occurs in Botanic Gardens. It is difficult to propagate as it is subject to root rot in cultivation (Blombery & Maloney 1992; Wrigley & Fagg 1989). This species is in cultivation at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, ACT, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, NSW (Meredith & Richardson 1990).

Persoonia hirsuta has been recorded from Blue Mountains NP, Wollemi NP, Dharug NP, Ku-ring-gai Chase NP, Marramarra NP, Royal NP and Sydney Harbour NP (NSW DECCW 1998b). There is also one known recording in North West Yengo NP (NSW NPWS 2003p).

Persoonia hirsuta occurs in dry sclerophyll forest and woodland with a shrubby understorey (NSW DEC 2007a). It also favours disturbed heath, shrubby thickets and sandstone scrubs (NSW DEC 2007a). Vegetation associations where it has been found include Sydney Sandstone Ridge-top Woodland and Sydney Sandstone Open Forests (NSW DEC 2007a). Canopy species associated with Persoonia hirsuta include Hard-leaved Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus sclerophylla), Red Bloodwood (Eucalyptus gummifera), Woolly Tea-tree (Leptospermum trinervium), Silvertop Ash (Eucalyptus sieberi), Grey Gum (Eucalyptus punctata), Narrow-leaved Stringybark (Eucalyptus sparsifolia), Yellow Bloodwood (Eucalyptus eximia) and Golden Banksia (Banksia ericifolia)

Persoonia hirsuta is frequently found on ridge tops and the mid slopes of hills and rises (NSW DEC 2007a). It grows in sandy to stony soils derived from sandstone or very rarely on shale, from near sea level to 600 m altitude (Harden 1991; Weston 1995b; Weston & Johnson 1991). The species is often found in disturbed areas, like along track edges (NSW DEC 2007a).

Persoonia hirsutaflowers occur in the axils of new growth (Blombery & Maloney 1992). Flowers mainly occur from November to January (Weston 1995b) but occasionally occur as early as September (Weston & Johnson 1991).

There has been no studies of the biology, breeding system, pollination vectors or dispersal of Persoonia hirsuta (FloraSearch 2009), however, other species in the genus have been studied. All Persoonia require insects for pollen transfer (FloraSearch 2009). Native bees from the Leioproctus genus seems to be an important pollinator for Persoonia (Bernhardt & Weston 1996). Other Persoonia have exhibited higher seed production rates in populations with higher plant densities (Field et al. 2005, cited in FloraSearch 2009). It is likely that most Persoonia pollination movement would occur within 30 m and all would be deposited within 130 m (FloraSearch 2009). Persoonia's are also dependent on heat or mechanical disturbance for germination (NSW DEC 2007a).

Persoonia hirsuta is best distinguished by its hairiness: long coarse hairs occur on flowers and branchlets and short stiff ones on the leaves (NSW DECCW2005io). Flowers mainly occur from November to January (Weston 1995b).

There is evidence of continued Persoonia hirsuta decline in the number of locations and the number of individuals. The species is particularly prone to local population extinction because of the small number of plants found at all locations. Protection of the population in Baulkham Hills Shire is particularly important for the conservation of this species as this population is significant because of the high local density of plants (NSW DECCW 1998b).

Persoonia hirsutais threatened by clearing, urban development, road and fire-trail maintenance, disturbance through bushrock removal, recreational use of its habitat, very low population numbers and inappropriate fire regimes (particularly too frequent fire) (NSW DECCW 1998b).

The European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) may be a factor in the rarity of Persoonia hirsuta and several other Geebungs. This is because although the European Honey Bee is able to collect pollen, its method of pollen transport makes it a poor pollinator of Persoonia, among many other native plant species (NSW DECCW 2005io).

A number of recovery actions are outlined for Persoonia hirsuta and include (NSW DECCW 2005io):

  • Ensure that hazard reduction burns do not adversely affect the species and its habitat.
  • Following burning, protect populations (where possible) from further fires until plants have reached reproductive maturity.
  • Develop a fire management plan for the populations.
  • Surveys should be conducted in suitable habitat in proposed development areas.
  • Erect on-site markers to alert maintenance staff and road-users to the presence of the species.
  • Continue research into the impact of the European Honey Bee on the reproduction of Persoonia
  • Mark Persoonia hirsuta sites and potential habitat onto maps used for planning road maintenance work.
  • Assess conservation significance of sites.
  • Collect and store seed.
  • Advise and liaise with private land managers to facilitate the preparation and implementation of site management plans that address threatening processes.
  • Develop and implement site-awareness and protection procedures for use by land owners/managers and public utilities and their contractors when undertaking road, trail, or easement maintenance.
  • Restrict vehicular and pedestrian access to sites, where necessary.
  • Fence sites and exclude livestock and/or feral animals, where required.
  • Undertake management-focused ecological studies, including fire frequency requirements.
  • Carry out targeted surveys in potential habitat, particularly freehold lands, Crown land that may be alienated and council-managed lands.

The NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water has published recovery actions for Persoonia hirsuta (NSW DECCW 2005io).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Biological Resource Use:Gathering natural materials:Removal of bush rocks Persoonia hirsuta in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006qq) [Internet].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Disturbance, especially from human recreational activities and development Persoonia hirsuta in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006qq) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Apis mellifera (Honey Bee, Apiary Bee) The threat posed by pest animals to biodiversity in New South Wales (Coutts-Smith, A.J., P.S. Mahon, M. Letnic & P.O. Downey, 2007) [Management Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Persoonia hirsuta in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006qq) [Internet].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development Persoonia hirsuta in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006qq) [Internet].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Persoonia hirsuta in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006qq) [Internet].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads Persoonia hirsuta in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006qq) [Internet].

Bernhardt, P. & P.H. Weston (1996). The pollination ecology of Persoonia in eastern Australia. Telopea. 6(4):775-804.

Blombery, A.M. & B. Maloney (1992). The Proteaceae of the Sydney Region. Kenthurst, NSW: Kangaroo Press.

FloraSearch (2009). Illawarra Coal - Bulli Seam Operations Project - Terrestrial Flora Assessment. Illawrra Coal and BHP Billiton, eds. Bulli Seam Operations - Appendix E - Terrestrial Flora Assessment. EPBC Referral 2010/5350. Orange, NSW: FloraSearch.

Harden, G.J. (ed.) (1991). Flora of New South Wales, Volume Two. Kensington, NSW: University of NSW Press.

Meredith, L.D. & M.M. Richardson (1990). Rare or Threatened Australian Plant Species in Cultivation in Australia. Report Series No. 15. Page(s) 1-114. Canberra: Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

NSW Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW DEC) (2007a). Draft NSW and National Recovery Plan Persoonia hirsuta.

NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW) (1998b). Persoonia hirsuta (a spreading to decumbent shrub) - endangered species listing. NSW Scientific Committeee - final determination. [Online]. Available from:

NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW) (2005io). Hairy Geebung - profile. [Online]. Available from:

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS) (2003p). Fire Management Plan Yengo National Park, Parr State Reserve Area and Dharug National Park. [Online]. Gosford, NSW: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Available from:

Weston, P.H. (1995b). Subfam. 1. Persoonioideae. In: Flora of Australia. 16:47-125. Melbourne, Victoria: CSIRO.

Weston, P.H. & L.A.S. Johnson (1991). Taxonomic changes in Persoonia (Proteaceae) in New South Wales. Telopea. 4(2):269-306.

Wrigley, J.W. & M. Fagg (1989). Banksias, Waratahs and Grevilleas and all other plants in the Australian Proteaceae family. Sydney, NSW: William Collins Publishers.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Persoonia hirsuta in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Sat, 20 Sep 2014 08:05:52 +1000.