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Genus Persoonia Family Proteaceae

Description: Shrubs, sometimes trees, bark usually smooth.

Leaves mostly alternate or sometimes opposite or in whorls of 3 or 4, simple, entire, sessile to shortly petiolate.

Inflorescences racemose, terminated by a dormant bud or growing on into a leafy shoot. Flowers actinomorphic [or zygomorphic, solitary in the axils of scale leaves or leaves. Tepals free but usually coherent towards the base, usually yellow and rarely with reddish markings [or green or white]. Anthers free or basally fused to the tepals [or rarely 1 fully fused and infertile]. Hypogynous glands 4 [or rarely 2, free. Ovary shortly stipitate; style not modified as a pollen presenter, stigma terminal [or lateral]; ovules 1 or 2.

Fruit a drupe; cotyledons usually >2.


Flower
Photo P. Weston

Flowering: All N.S.W. species summer–flowering.

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 100 spp., endemic Aust., all States.

Text by P.H. Weston
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Persoonia lanceolata x levis,    Persoonia levis x oxycoccoides

 Key to the species 
1Leaves mostly <2 mm wide; inflorescences growing on into a leafy shoot (except in P. pinifolia).2
Leaves mostly >2 mm wide; inflorescences terminated by a dormant bud or growing on into a leafy shoot.3
2Ovary and fruit glabrous.4
Ovary densely hairy, fruit moderately hairy to glabrescent.
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22
3Ovary and fruit glabrous.24
Ovary sparsely to densely hairy; fruit moderately hairy to glabrescent.
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57
4Leaves pungent-pointed, very rigid.5
Leaves usually acute but never pungent-pointed.
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6
5Tepals hairy, 6–11 mm long; leaves not succulent when living.Persoonia juniperina
Tepals glabrous, 12–15 mm long; leaves succulent when living.
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Persoonia hindii
6Leaves strongly scabrous; tepals marked with maroon.7
Leaves smooth to finely scabrous; tepals without maroon markings.
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8
7Leaves narrow- to linear-spathulate, 1–2 cm long, 1.5–5 mm wide.Persoonia cuspidifera
Leaves linear to oblong or linear-spathulate, 1.5–4.5 cm long, 0.5–1.25 mm wide.
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Persoonia curvifolia
8Broadest leaves <1 mm wide, subterete or terete.9
Broadest leaves >1 mm wide, mostly not terete or subterete.
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14
9Leaves 3–7 cm long; inflorescences terminated by a dormant bud with flower-subtending leaves mostly shorter than sterile leaves, progressively becoming shorter towards apex.Persoonia pinifolia
Leaves usually 1–3.5 cm long; inflorescences growing on into a leafy shoot with flower-subtending leaves mostly the same length as sterile leaves, or, if mostly shorter, then progressively becoming longer towards apex.
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10
10Leaves terete or subterete and grooved on lower surface when living, subterete and grooved on lower surface when dried.11
Leaves subterete and shallowly concave on upper surface when living, subterete and grooved when dried.
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13
11Leaves ≥0.8 mm wide, apex truncate to acute; ovules 2.Persoonia mollis
Leaves <0.8 mm wide, apex acuminate; ovule 1.
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12
12Inflorescences 1–9-flowered; rachis 0–0.9 cm long; leaves incurved.Persoonia pauciflora
Inflorescences usually 10–70-flowered; rachis 0.5–9 cm long, rarely less; leaves recurved towards their tips.
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Persoonia isophylla
13Tepals with free apical points, forming a prominent 'crown' at the tip of the flower bud; leaves c. 0.5 mm wide.Persoonia acerosa
Tepals with coherent apical points, not promionently distinct from the rest of the tepals; leaves 0.3–0.5 mm wide.
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Persoonia tenuifolia
14Leaves <1 cm long, narrow-oblong; pedicels 1–2 mm long.Persoonia terminalis
Leaves mostly >1 cm long, linear-oblong or lanceolate to linear-lanceolate; pedicels mostly >2 mm long.
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15
15Pedicels glabrous (rarely sparsely hairy in P. chamaepeuce).16
Pedicels hairy.
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20
16Leaves slightly convex.17
Leaves slightly concave.
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19
17Leaves mostly lanceolate to linear-lanceolate.Persoonia bargoensis
Leaves linear-oblong.
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18
18Erect to spreading shrub; leaves 1.5–3 cm long, strongly discolorous when dried.Persoonia nutans
Prostrate or decumbent shrub; leaves 0.8–1.5 cm long, slightly discolorous when dried.
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Persoonia laxa
19Prostrate shrub; leaves 0.8–2.5 cm long.Persoonia chamaepeuce
Erect shrub; leaves 2–5 cm long.
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Persoonia virgata
20Tepals glabrous, strongly keeled along the outer midrib so that the buds appear square in cross section; leaves succulent when living, deeply concave when dried, smooth when maturePersoonia hindii
Tepals sparsely to moderately hairy, the buds not usually appearing square in cross section; leaves not succulent when living, flat to convex.
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21
21Bark lamellose-flaky; leaves flat when fresh, sometimes slightly convex when dried, 2–8.5 cm long.Persoonia linearis
Bark smooth-compact; leaves convex to revolute or subterete when fresh, strongly revolute or grooved on lower surface when dried, 1.5–4 cm long.
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Persoonia mollis
22Prostrate shrub; leaves terete when fresh, subterete and grooved on lower surface when dried, smooth to minutely scabrous.Persoonia chamaepitys
Erect to spreading shrubs; leaves concave or convex, sometimes strongly revolute but not terete, smooth to scabrous.
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23
23Leaves 0.5–1.4 cm long, recurved.Persoonia hirsuta
Leaves mostly 1.5–4 cm long, usually incurved.
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Persoonia fastigiata
24Longest leaves <2.5 cm long.25
Longest leaves >2.5 cm long.
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36
25Leaves broadest above the middle.26
Leaves mostly broadest at or below the middle.
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29
26Mature leaves strongly scabrous.27
Mature leaves smooth to slightly scabrous.
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28
27Broadest leaves <5.5 mm wide, concolorous; pedicels 2–5 mm long.Persoonia cuspidifera
Broadest leaves >5.5 mm wide, slightly discolorous; pedicels 1–3 mm long.
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Persoonia rigida
28Tepals 8–11.5 mm long; anthers yellow.Persoonia mollis
Tepals 11–15 mm long; anthers white.
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Persoonia subvelutina
29Tepals prominently caudate with dorsal, recurved tails.Persoonia myrtilloides
Tepals apiculate to shortly caudate with terminal tails.
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30
30Pedicels erect, moderately to densely hairy.Persoonia mollis
Pedicels mostly spreading to recurved, glabrous to moderately hairy.
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31
31Tepal tips shortly caudate.Persoonia brevifolia
Tepal tips acute to apiculate.
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32
32Mature leaves scabrous with antrorse to spreading hairs; leaves convex with recurved to revolute margins, broad-elliptic to ovate to broad-ovate.Persoonia microphylla
Mature leaves smooth and glabrescent to finely scabrous with appressed hairs; leaves flat with flat to recurved margins, ovate.
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33
33Pedicels sparsely to moderately hairy; tepals glabrous to moderately hairy; leaves sparsely to moderately hairy when immature, remaining so when mature.Persoonia asperula
Pedicels and tepals glabrous (or rarely the pedicels very sparsely hairy); leaves sparsely (or rarely moderately) hairy when immature, glabrescent to sparsely hairy when mature.
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34
34Longest leaves ≤11 mm.Persoonia oxycoccoides
Longest leaves >11 mm long.
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35
35Leaves usually acuminate, usually strongly discolorous, with recurved margins, 2.5–8.5 mm wide.Persoonia acuminata
Leaves acute, concolorous to slightly discolorous, with flat to slightly recurved margins, 1.2–3.5 mm wide.
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Persoonia recedens
36Bark rough, dark, lamellose-flaky.37
Bark smooth-compact, usually light to mid grey, sometimes dark and fissured at base or on trunk.
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38
37Leaves 1–7 mm wide, straight.Persoonia linearis
Leaves 13–80 mm wide, ± asymmetric to falcate.
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Persoonia levis
38Pedicels recurved or rarely spreading if <3 mm long.39
Pedicels erect.
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40
39Tepals prominently caudate; pedicels sparsely to moderately hairy, 2–10 mm long; leaf margins recurved.Persoonia myrtilloides
Tepals apiculate to shortly caudate; pedicels glabrous, 9–23 mm long; leaf margins flat.
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Persoonia oblongata
40Anthers white; leaves strongly discolorous.41
Anthers yellow; leaves concolorous to discolorous.
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44
41Inflorescences growing on into a leafy shoot; mature leaves sparsely to moderately hairy.Persoonia subvelutina
At least some inflorescences terminated by a dormant bud; mature leaves glabrescent to sparsely hairy.
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42
42At least some inflorescences terminated by a dormant bud and bearing some flowers in the axils of leaves; leaves alternate; tepals glabrous to moderately hairy.Persoonia silvatica
All inflorescences terminated by a dormant bud and bearing flowers only in the axils of scale leaves; leaves usually opposite; tepals densely hairy.
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43
43Leaves moderately scabrous.Persoonia laurina
Leaves smooth.
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Persoonia confertiflora
44Plants prostrate.45
Plants erect to decumbent.
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47
45Leaves strongly discolorous, with revolute margins.Persoonia mollis
Leaves concolorous, with slightly recurved margins.
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46
46Tepals moderately hairy.Persoonia daphnoides
Tepals sparsely hairy.
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Persoonia procumbens
47Margins of leaves flat; leaves concolorous, broadest above the middle.48
Margins of leaves ± recurved; leaves concolorous to discolorous, often broadest at or below the middle.
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49
48Leaves strongly pruinose, especially when young.Persoonia glaucescens
Leaves not pruinose.
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Persoonia lanceolata
49Mature leaves scabrous, 1.5–5 cm long, concolorous to slightly discolorous, broadest above middle; hairs mostly spreading.Persoonia rigida
Mature leaves smooth, or if scabrous then mostly >5 cm long or strongly discolorous or broadest at or below the middle or hairs appressed to antrorse.
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50
50Tepals and young branchlets glabrous to sparsely covered in mostly appressed hairs.Persoonia media
Tepals and young branchlets moderately to densely hairy.
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51
51Leaves strongly discolorous, with recurved to revolute margins; tepals acute to acuminate or apiculate; ovules 2.Persoonia mollis
Leaves concolorous to slightly discolorous, with recurved margins, if strongly discolorous then tepals caudate; ovules 1 or 2.
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52
52Leaves and flowers turning black on drying, often falcate; tepals and young branchlets moderately covered in short, appressed to antrorse, grey hairs; ovules 2.Persoonia katerae
Leaves usually remaining green or turning brown on drying, usually straight; tepals and young branchlets moderately to densely covered in grey to rusty hairs; ovule usually 1.
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53
53Inflorescences mostly terminated by a dormant bud; tepals obtuse to apiculate, densely hairy.Persoonia cornifolia
Inflorescences mostly growing on into a leafy shoot or if mostly terminated by a dormant bud then tepals moderately hairy; tepals apiculate to caudate.
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54
54Multistemmed shrubs, usually <1 m high.Persoonia oleoides
Single-stemmed shrubs to small trees 1.5–9 m high.
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55
55Leaves 5–10 (rarely to 15) mm wide, 5–15 times longer than broad; bark smooth to base.Persoonia volcanica
Leaves 10–45 mm wide, 1.5–7 times longer than broad; bark reticulately fissured at base, smooth on branches.
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56
56Tepals apiculate to shortly caudate; leaves mostly 2–3.5 times as long as broad.Persoonia stradbrokensis
Tepals prominently caudate; leaves mostly 3–7 times as long as broad.
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Persoonia adenantha
57Leaves 5–14 mm long, recurved.Persoonia hirsuta
Leaves >15 mm long, either incurved or not consistently curved.
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58
58Leaves mostly opposite and decussate, strongly discolorous; tepals densely rusty-hairy.Persoonia laurina
Leaves alternate, concolorous to slightly discolorous; tepals glabrous to densely hairy.
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59
59Pedicels 9–23 mm long, recurved, glabrous.Persoonia oblongata
Pedicels 1–12 mm long, erect to recurved, glabrous to densely hairy; combination never as above.
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60
60Prostrate to decumbent shrub; tepals 8–10 mm long, caudate with dorsal tails; mature leaves glabrescent.Persoonia marginata
Spreading to erect shrubs to trees or rarely decumbent to prostrate shrubs; tepals mostly 10–13 mm long (rarely 9 mm in P. sericea and then mature leaves sparsely to densely hairy, habit erect), obtuse to caudate with terminal tails; mature leaves densely hairy to glabrescent.
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61
61Mature leaves sparsely to densely hairy, broadest above the middle, 1.5–6 cm long; pedicels usually spreading to recurved.Persoonia sericea
Mature leaves glabrescent or rarely sparsely to moderately hairy but then broadest at or below middle, 2–14 cm long; pedicels erect.
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62
62Young branchlets and tepals glabrous to sparsely hairy; hairs mostly appressed; pedicels 3–10 mm long.Persoonia media
Young branchlets and tepals densely or sometimes moderately hairy; hairs mostly spreading; pedicels 1–4 mm long.
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63
63Young branchlets, young leaves, pedicels and tepals rusty-hairy; mature leaves scabrous, glabrescent to moderately hairy; ovary densely hairy.Persoonia rufa
Young branchlets, young leaves, pedicels and tepals greyish- to tawny-hairy or if rusty-hairy then ovary sparsely hairy; mature leaves smooth to slightly scabrous, glabrescent to sparsely hairy.
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64
64Inflorescences mostly determinate; tepals obtuse to apiculate, densely hairy.Persoonia cornifolia
Inflorescences usually mostly growing on into a leafy shoot or if mostly determinate then tepals moderately hairy, apiculate to caudate.
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65
65Multistemmed shrubs, 0.3–1 m high; ovary glabrous or rarely sparsely hairy.Persoonia oleoides
Single-stemmed shrubs to small trees 1.5–9 m high; ovary sparsely to densely hairy.
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66
66Tepals sparsely to moderately covered in short, appressed to antrorse hairs.Persoonia conjuncta
Tepals moderately to densely covered in moderate length antrorse to spreading hairs.
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67
67Tepals prominently caudate; ovary sparsely hairy or more usually glabrous; leaves mostly 3–7 times as long as broad.Persoonia adenantha
Tepals apiculate to shortly caudate; ovary usually moderately to densely hairy; leaves mostly 2–3.5 times as long as broad.
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Persoonia stradbrokensis

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