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Hunter Valley District Group


Hunter Valley resources

Here you  will find a range of information about native plants - where to buy them, plants of the Hunter region and journals of interest. 

See the Activities page for great native gardens in the Hunter. 

Native nurseries in the Hunter Valley

Riverdene Nursery, Open 6 days (closed Sundays), 80 Allyn River Rd, East Gresford

APS Newcastle Group

Open Thursday mornings at the Hunter Wetlands Centre

Newcastle Wildflower Nursery, Open 7 days, 260 Lake Rd, Glendale

Trees in Newcastle, Open Friday Mornings, Belmont Wetlands State Park, 119 Kalaroo Road, Redhead NSW 2290

The Hunter Region Botanic Gardens, Stocks some native plants.

Hunter Indigenous Plants

36 Weakley's Dr., Beresfield. (by appointment). They are also at the Newcastle Farmers Market each Sunday.

Plants of the Hunter Region

Below is a list of plants which grow well in the Hunter Valley. The ones marked * only grow in the Hunter Region. All the profiles on this page have been developed by Mark Abell. 

We also have a very large searchable database of plants, grouped by sizes here:

Acacia elongata, Swamp Wattle

Acacia falcata - Sickle Leaf Wattle

Banksia spinulosa var. spinulosa - Hairpin Banksia

Acacia pendula - Weeping Myall

Banksia oblongifolia - Rusty Banksia

Brachyscome multifida - Cut-leaved Daisy

Chrysocephalum apiculatum - Yellow Buttons

Dendrobium speciosum - Rock Orchid

Elaeocarpus reticulatus - Blueberry Ash

* Eucalyptus fracta - Broken Back Ironbark

* Eucalyptus pumila - Pokolbin Mallee

Goodenia hederacea - Ivy Goodenia

Grevillea guthrieana - Guthrie’s Grevillea

Grevillea johnsonii - Johnson's Grevillea

* Grevillea montana - Hunter Valley Grevillea

* Grevillea parviflora subsp. parviflora - Small-flower Grevillea

* Grevillea virgata, Nerong Grevillea

Hardenbergia violacea - Purple Coral Pea, False Sarsaparilla

Hibbertia dentata -Trailing guinea flower

Hibiscus heterophyllus - Native Rosella

Hymenosporum flavum - Native Frangipani

Indigofera australis - Australian Indigo

Kennedia rubicunda - Running Postman

Melaleuca thymifolia - Thyme honey-myrtle

Melia azedarach - White Cedar

Pandorea pandorana - Wonga Wonga Vine

* Persoonia pauciflora - North Rothbury Persoonia

Pittosporum multiflorum - Orange Thorn

* Prostanthera cineolifera - Singleton Mint-bush

Pterostylis curta - Blunt Greenhood

Pterostylis nutans - Nodding Greenhood

Senna artemisioides subsp. filifolia - Desert Cassia

Here is another excellent resource of plants which grow in the Newcastle and Lower Hunter regions, compiled by APS Newcastle Group. 

Plant Guide Newcastle (v2).pdf. Here is a sample. 

Natives which grow naturally in the Hunter Valley

These profiles have been developed by Mark Abell,. Ones marked with * only grow in the Hunter. 

Banksia oblongifolia, Rusty Banksia

Distribution: Found along the East Coast of Australia from Ulladulla in Southern NSW through to Bundaberg in Queensland. In the Hunter Valley it can be found from the coast inland to around Kurri Kurri. It is found in a range of different habitats from coastal heathlands through to dry sclerophyll forest and grows on well drained soils.

Banksia oblongifolia is an open multi stemmed shrub typically to 1-1.5m high with a similar width, though some forms found in forested areas can grow up to 3m. The flower spikes (occurring from Autumn to Winter) are pale yellow, with the buds found in a range of colours from blue-grey to a greenish yellow. The seeds are enclosed in woody follicles which stay on the cone till burnt by fire. The new growth is hairy and an interesting rusty colour.

Its relatively small size and interesting flowers make it a good garden plant for well drained soils in areas from full sun to part shade.

Propagation is mainly from seed.

Chrysocephalum apiculatum - Yellow Buttons

Distribution: It is a widespread plant that is found in every state in Australia. It occurs throughout the Hunter Valley. 

Chrysocephalum apiculatum is a variable species that is found in a variety of habitats, most commonly in open sites near the edges of woodlands or heaths. This is a low growing perennial in the daisy family (Asteraceae) with many small yellow button like flowers held above grey-green foliage.

Given the wide distribution and habitats that it is found in there are many different forms around.

It has a long flowering season, peaking in spring and summer, but flowers can often be found on the plants through most of the year.

Chrysocephalum apiculatum is an adaptable and easy to grow garden plant. It grows in a wide range of soil types, is frost tolerant and drought tolerant once established. Whilst preferring sunnier spots it can also grow in light shade. Like many grey leaved plants, wet conditions can cause fungal problems on the leaves.

Propagation can be readily done from cuttings, or from division of the suckering forms. More info in our plant database:

* Eucalyptus fracta, Broken Back Ironbark

Distribution: endemic to the Hunter Valley, found primarily along the Broken Back Range near Pokolbin, with scattered populations along the southern escarpment of the valley.

Eucalyptus fracta is found growing along the edges of the escarpment and can grow as a tree (to 8m) or a mallee.

The plants closer to the edge of the cliffs tended to grow more as a mallee, with those further from the edge growing as trees.

It was only named in 1997 and is classified as vulnerable.

It has white flowers in spring and mature trees show the typical ironbark trunks, the smaller, upper branches are smooth & whitish.

It would make an interesting plant for a larger garden. 

* Eucalyptus pumila, Pokolbin mallee

Distribution: A vulnerable plant that is found on a few ridge tops and rocky slopes in the Broken Back Range west of Pokolbin. Endemic to the Hunter Region.

Eucalyptus pumila is a small tree to a tall shrub that grows in a mallee habit (many stems arising from a large lignotuber) to 3-6m. The name refers to the small (for a eucalypt) habit of the plant. It has clusters of 7-13 attractive creamy white flowers. Flowering time is late summer to autumn. The many stems are smooth barked and relatively thin (~5cm).

It is distinct from other eucalypts in the Hunter Valley and it has no close relatives.

Eucalyptus pumila has been in cultivation for a number of years and it performs well, though it can take some time to develop a mallee habit. Given its small size, attractive habit and flowers this plant deserves to be much more widely grown.

Plants can often be obtained from the Riverdene Nursery at Gresford & sometimes from the Hunter Wetlands nursery. Nindethana also has small packets of seed available.

Propagation is from the fine seed which is sown on the top of a fine seed raising mix..

Note: In addition to E. pumila the Broken Back Range has a number of other rare endemic plants. These include - Eucalyptus castrensis, Eucalyptus fracta and Prostanthera cineolifera. I’ve yet to see the first one.

Photos (from top right) flowers, mallee habit, lignotuber, seed pods, buds, Photo above: plants flowering in the foreground looking north over the Pokolbin area.

* Grevillea montana - Hunter Valley Grevillea

Distribution: the southern part of the Hunter Valley from Denman and east to Mt Sugarloaf.

This Grevillea is one that is endemic to the Hunter Valley. Whilst the species name “montana” refers to mountains, the plant is found in many different habitats, with most of these not being on mountains.

Grevillea montana is a small shrub up to 1.5m high with a similar spread, within its range it the size can vary as well as the intensity of the flower colour.

The grey-green leaves are elliptical to 30mm long. It has small red and green flowers for much of the year, peaking in spring - these are attractive to the smaller honeyeaters. Some populations further up the valley can have yellow rather than red flowers.

The shrub has a neat growth habit and grows well in either sun or semi shade. It is tolerant of a range of soil types and will take light frosts.

As with all Grevilleas use only low Phosphorus fertilisers recommended for native plants.

It can be readily propagated from cuttings.

More info on our Plant database:

*Grevillea parviflora subsp. parviflora - Small-flower Grevillea

Distribution: sporadically found through the Sydney basin and in the Hunter mainly around the Cessnock - Kurri Kurri area.

Grevillea parviflora is generally less than 1m high with small pink spider pink flowers and narrow leaves. It flowers from July through to December. It is capable of suckering and it grows in shrubby woodland to open forest areas.

Plants that have been disturbed by slashing and trail maintenance are much bushier and compact than what is found in less disturbed areas. This would make an interesting and attractive small garden shrub that should be more widely grown.

Propagation would be likely from semi-hardwood cuttings. More info:

*Grevillea virgata, Nerong Grevillea

Distribution: A rare plant that is found between Nerong and Bulahdelah north of Port Stephens. Endemic to the Hunter Region.

Grevillea virgata is an upright grevillea (to 2m) in the G. parviflora / G. linearifolia complex. The name refers to the twiggy and slender habit of the plant. It has terminal white flowers of about 20mm in size. and generally flowers from May to October.

It is closely related to Grevillea humilis which can be found a bit further to the west and south.

Grevillea virgata is not known in cultivation, but it should be similar in requirements to G. humilis and  G. parviflora. The main requirement would be (like all Grevilleas) to avoid high phosphorus fertilisers.

Propagation would be easiest done from semi-hardwood cuttings, though seed would also work.

* Persoonia pauciflora - North Rothbury Persoonia

Distribution: This is only found in a small area around North Rothbury.

Persoonia pauciflora is a critically endangered plant with less than 400 plants surviving in the wild. It is a shrub that grows to around 1.5m with soft light green foliage and yellow flowers. The name pauciflora is a reference to the relatively small quantity of flowers compared with similar species. It has smooth bark and is most closely related to P. isophylla and P. pinifolius.

It grows on clay soils and can be found with the more common & widespread Persoonia linearis and Grevillea montana growing nearby. It is in woodland dominated by Spotted Gum and Ironbarks.

This plant is threatened by urban development, with most of the original plants on private property or on roadside verges and undeveloped transport corridors.

Recent propagation and planting efforts have added another 200+ plants to the wild population.

Philydrum lanuginosum, Frog Mouth

Distribution: Widespread near the edges of wetlands on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range and across Northern Australia - also found overseas from SE Asia across to Northern Australia.

Interestingly, it is a monotypic genus with this being the only species in the genus.

This is a relatively small marginal plant that has lime green fleshy leaves and spikes of yellow flowers. The leaves are around 60cm long, with the flower spikes extending up towards 2m. The flowers occur from late spring through to early autumn.

Philydrum is a good addition to a pond as it offers both colour and height, and provides protection for frogs and small fishes. If the conditions are suitable, it will self-seed around your pond.

The plant can also die back to its roots over winter, which can helps to survive light frosts.Come spring, it will put up fresh leaves.

Propagation is normally from seed, division, or by digging up the small seedlings that can appear nearby.

Images Mark Abell

* Prostanthera cineolifera - Singleton Mint-bush

Distribution: endemic to the Hunter Valley - found in and around the Broken Back range between Pokolbin, Broke and Wollombi.

The name is a reference to the amount of the oil cineol that is found in the leaves. This gives the leaves a pleasant fragrance.

This vulnerable plant is found in the moister parts of the forests and gullies in its range.

It has purple flowers from September to October. Size is from 1 to 4m.

It is very closely related to Prostanthera ovalifolia, and in cultivation should be treated the similarly.

Like many other Prostantheras, it makes an attractive garden plant.

Propagation is done from semi-hardwood cuttings.

Photos show flowers and a mature plant on Brokenback Range. 

More info here:

Journals, books & newsletters of Interest

Vegetation guide to the Hunter Valley

Excellent resource which draws on Professor David Keith's work into the ecosystems and plants in NSW including the Hunter Valley

Flora of the Hunter Region, Stephen Bell, PDF

Book: Flora of the Hunter Region, Stephen Bell, Christine Rockley & Anne LLewellyn, CSIRO Clayton Vic, 2019

Book: Native Terrestrial Orchids of the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens Linda E McPherson, 2019. Self-published.

Cunninghamia - Journal of plant ecology, especially Eastern Australia

Telopea - Open access journal of plant Systemics.

Australia Flora Foundation - Newsletter

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