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Podolobium aciculiferum (Spiny Shaggy Pea) - Australian Native Plant Profile

Updated on February 19, 2012

Common Names: Spiney Shaggy Pea, Needle Shaggy Pea
Species: Podolobium aciculiferum
Synonyms: Oxylobium aciculiferum

Podolobium aciculiferum or Spiney Shaggy Pea is an evergreen, upright, woody perennial shrub reaching 2m high by 2m wide under ideal conditions in warm temperate and sub-tropical climates. It occurs naturally in Eastern Queensland and New South Wales where its range extends from Nerrigundah in NSW to Rockhampton in QLD. It grows as an understory plant in dry sclerophyll forests with gravelly soils.

A similar species of Podolobium, Podolobium ilicifolium.  Podolobium aciculiferum has similar flowers but has un-lobed, lance-shaped foliage.
A similar species of Podolobium, Podolobium ilicifolium. Podolobium aciculiferum has similar flowers but has un-lobed, lance-shaped foliage. | Source

Plant features

Beging a legume, Podolobium aciculiferum is a nitrogen fixer. It's capable of growing on poor sandstone and shale stony soils. It's frost tolerant and drought resistant when grown under partial shade like it would naturally receive in the forest understory. It's only found within natural range and not capitalised on by the horticulture industry, thus rare outside specialist nurseries. It has attractive 1cm long, yellow pea flowers which attract native bees. It has interesting spine-tipped foliage with additional spinose stipules along the stem. It suffers from no major pest or disease problems. It provides shelter and nesting sites for small native birds who gain protection from the spines against predators. It provides a source of food for seed, nectar and insect-eating birds. It's a host plant for various native Australian butterflies.

Garden uses

The spiny leaves and stipules would lend this plant to be used as a security hedge planting underneath windows. It could also be used as a screening plant or in mixed native beds where it would help to provide nitrogen for other plantings (being a nitrogen fixing plant).

Cultural uses

No traditional or cultural uses are known for this species.


Podolobium aciculiferum may be toxic to livestockand should not be planted on or adjoining farmlands. Spines make this plant unsuitable for gardeners with adventurous children or pets. Availability is limited to specialised growers of local native plants and seed catalogues.

Tips for growing Podolobium aciculiferum

Podolobium aciculiferum can be planted into partial shade or even full sun provided that the soil is kept moist. Ensure the soil is also well draining. Mulch on planting to ensure a cool root run and keep well watered until the plant is established. Lightly prune following flowering to maintain a compact growth habit. This plant doesn't normally require additional fertilizers and only requires an application of trace mineral if deficiencies occur. It's usually propagated via seed. Seeds should be soaked overnight in warm water. Additional scarification may be necessary to enable germination. Can also be propagated from stem tip cuttings or by layering.


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    • Gloshei profile image

      Gloria 5 years ago from France

      Interesting hub and full of good information.

      Unfortunately we do not have the right climate for it, which is a shame.

      Thankyou for sharing.