Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Persoonia species

Proteaceae

Geebungs

Naam-burra to Dharug people

Description

All 90 species of Persoonia are native to Australia. They have yellow flowers and oval fruit still with the style attached. All New South Wales species flower in summer. The hard seeds are dispersed by emus, kangaroos and other animals.

Where it is found

Geebungs occur in a range of environments - from heath to open forest on coastal sand and sandstone. They are found in all state of Australia. In New South Wales they occur along the north and shouth coast, into the central tablelands, with some species extending out into the western slopes and plains.

Uses

  • Geebung fruits ripen on the ground and are best when soft. Discard the skin and enjoy the soft pulp around the seed.
  • Aboriginal people treat sore eyes by mixing fine scrapings of wood from the stem of young Persoonia falcata with breast milk (Isaacs 1987).
  • Aboriginal people of the Sydney area strengthened bark used for fishing lines by soaking it in a solution made from the bark of Persoonia laurina (Turbet 1989).

Further information

Click here for further information on species of Persoonia.

Persoonia sp.
Ruth Simms showing geebungs (Persoonia sp.) Photo: Bob Percival.

Persoonia-species
Persoonia lanceolata: leaves, buds and flowers, fruit, habit.

We used to collect Geebungs after school and put them in brown paper bags that we’d keep when you went to the shops to buy things. You’ve got to watch out for funnel webs and trapdoor spiders, because that’s the kind of undergrowth they like to get in.
Ruth Simms