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Isopogon anemonifolius, Broad-leaved drumsticks



Isopogon anemonifolius is a widespread shrub that occurs in Queensland and along the Coast and Tablelands of New South Wales. In grows naturally in woodlands, open forests and heathland on sandstone soils. Isopogons are related to banksias and grevilleas.

Isopogon anemonifolius was one of my first plants that I planted in my garden in Sydney’s northern suburbs many, many years ago. They grew very well, however after a while they all died. Looking back, I suspect the location I was growing them in was too dry and as well, my soil was too heavy as they naturally prefer and grow in sandy, well-drained soils. 

A few years ago, I replanted some more of these plants (I like yellow flowers), in raised beds of lighter sandy loam over my clay subsoil and ensured they did not dry out. So far, they are growing and flowering well. All the reference books state that they need little attention, are hardy to frost and drought and will eventually grow to two metres although often less. I have found they grow at their best in my garden, if I do not let them have extended dry periods.

The yellow flowers appear during late spring to early summer and are displayed prominently. They are followed by grey cone-like ‘drumsticks’. The plants attractive leaves are divided and narrow, and have a purplish tinge during the cooler seasons.

They require little or no maintenance as they have no real pests or diseases (an ideal plant). There is no reason to prune them, however I have found they make really good cut flowers and are long lasting in water and hence do receive some pruning that results in a compact plant.  

Isopogon - from two Greek words meaning 'equal' and 'beard', alluding to the hairy fruits of some species.  Anemonifolius - with leaves like those of some Anemones (1 Anemone are perennial flowering plants that have basal leaves with long leaf-stems that can be upright or prostrate. Leaves are simple or compound with lobed, parted, or undivided leaf blades. The leaf margins are toothed or entire.)

Jeff Howes

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