flowers, foliage

Natural populations

A common shrub species in heath, mallee and open eucalypt forest with a shrubby understorey, Dillwynia sericea occurs in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. It tolerates frost and moderate drought conditions and prefers sandy or loamy well-drained soils derived from sandstone and granite but also grows in gravelly clays. Habitats vary from sand dunes and gently undulating country to steep hillsides, rocky outcrops and ridge tops.

Flowering and seeds

Flowering in spring and producing seed in summer. Fruits turn from green to brown and seed is shed quickly at maturity; the seed is more easily captured using breathable cloth bags [93]. To propagate, pour hot water (just off boil) over seed and leave for 30 seconds and then cool down rapidly [93].

Cultivation and uses

An important understorey plant providing food and habitat in natural environments; it is also considered an ornamental and suitable as a container plant in gardens.

Key descriptors:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 400-1700 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer, uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 8-19 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 19-33 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: -2-9 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C)
Altitude: 0-1250 metres
Tolerance of extremes in climate
Drought  known to be moderately drought tolerant
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Wind: tolerates salt-laden coastal winds
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, light to medium clay (35-50% clay), loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Soil pH reaction: acidic (less than 6.5) or neutral (6.5-7.5)
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm) or moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage:  well-drained
Salinity: non-saline
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in texture: sand
Salinity: nil - sensitive to saline soils
Soil waterlogging tolerance: nil - sensitive to waterlogged soils
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen shrub less than 2 m tall
Longevity: short-lived less than 15 years
Growth rate: fast
Root system: shallow and spreading
Erosion control potential: excellent for sandy sites
Shade tolerance: grows best in full sunlight or tolerates partial shade
Potentially undesirable attributes
Fire sensitivity: killed by severe fires (seeder)


[93] Bonney N (2003) What Seed Is That? A guide to the identification, collection, germination and establishment of native plant species for central southern Australian landscapes. Neville Bonney, Tantanoola.

Internet links

PlantNet NSW Flora Online – species description & distribution:

South Australia Flora Online – species description & distribution:

Tasmania Understorey Network:

LaTrobe University – pollen image library: