North Rothbury Persoonia

The North Rothbury Persoonia (Persoonia pauciflora) is one of 98 species of Persoonia shrubs belonging to the Proteaceae plant family. Persoonia are endemic to many areas in Australia, however the North Rothbury Persoonia grows only in a particular type of geology, called the Fairley Formation, around the small town of North Rothbury in New South Wales. Today the common name for Persoonia in Eastern Australia is Geebung, which comes from the Dharug language, however the name in the Wiradjuri language is Jibbong.

Aboriginal Australians traditionally harvested the fruits of the Persoonia and ate them raw as a snack food. The bark of the Persoonia was used in the production of fishing lines, whereby strips of bark from the Blue-leaved Stringybark (Eucalyptus agglomerata) would be strengthened by soaking in a solution of Geebung bark and water.

This particular Persoonia is critically endangered due to deforestation, habitat fragmentation and degradation, and illegal land clearing. As this plant needs a very particular habitat to survive, it has a greatly restricted distribution, being limited to an area of about four square kilometres. With less than 400 plants remaining, the North Rothbury Persoonia is very close to extinction.

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