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Daviesia ulicifolia

Daviesia ulicifolia Andrews (1803: t. 304); Thompson (1961: 39); Beadle et al. (1963: 239); Burbidge and Gray (1970: 212); Beadle et al. (1972: 285); Willis (1973: 258); Lebler (1975: 3); Cunningham et al. (1981: 390); Crisp (1981: 149); Beadle et al. (1982: 285); Stanley and Ross (1983: 254); Weber (1986: 663); Hacker (1990: 131); Crisp (1991: 476). Type citation: '...from New Holland' 'Our drawing was made from the Hibbertian collection, in the month of May 1802.'Type specimens: Unknown; holo: the plate.

Daviesia ulicina Smith ex Donn (1804: 76), nom. nud.

Daviesia ulicina Smith (1805: 506; 1808a; 1808b: 256); Brown (1811); Candolle (1825: 114); Don (1832: 125); Paxton (1837: 29); Bailey (1883: 90); Mueller (1888: 203); Bailey (1900: 350); Black (1924: 296); Williamson (1931: 619); Curtis (1956: 132). Type citation: [Port Jackson]. Type specimens: Holo: LINN; iso: LIV. Nom. superfl. & inval., D. ulicifolia Andrews (1803) is given as a synonym.

Daviesia genistoides Lodd. (1830: t. 1552). Type citation: 'lately introduced from New Holland'. Type specimens: Unknown; holo: the plate.
Daviesia ruscifolia A. Cunn. ex Benth. (1837: 11; 1839: 75); Walpers (1842: 570); Schlechtendal (1847: 665). Type citation: 'Nova Cambria australis, A. Cunningham...(v.s.)' Type specimens: Holo: Bushy sandstone ridge SW from Lake George, SW interior of N.S. Wales, A. Cunningham 64, April 1824 (W); iso: BM, CBG, CGE, K ( 2 sheets), NY.

[D. umbellata Labill. (Dec. 1805: 107, t. 137), sphalm. Specimens cited: 'Habitat in capite Van-Diemen.' Specimens seen: B, BM, FI-W, G, G-DC, P, S. An error for D. umbellulata Smith, because Labillardière cited a full reference to Smith (Jan. 1805), quoting the original diagnosis verbatim. Labillardière misapplied this name to material of D. ulicifolia Andrews. Candolle (1825: 114) later made the new name D. umbellulata var. angustifolia (q.v. below) based on D. umbellata Labill., and Bentham (1864: 81) did likewise in naming D. ulicina forma subumbellata (q.v. above).]

[D. umbellulata auct. non Smith: DC. [Candolle] (1825: 114); J.D. Hooker (1856: 82). Name misapplied to material of D. ulicifolia Andrews.]


Shrubs divaricate, to 2.5 m high. Root anatomy (Pate et al. 1989) 'normal' type. Branchlets spinescent, longitudinally ridged, angular-terete, occasionally hispid. Phyllodes alternate, narrow-ovate to -elliptical, pungent, joined in an articulation at the stem, 3–22 mm long, 1–6 mm wide, occasionally hispid; upper face convex with mid-rib more prominent than below. Inflorescences 1 or 2 per axil, 1-flowered or umbellate with up to 5 flowers; peduncle 0–3 mm long; subtending bracts c. 1 mm long. Pedicels cylindrical, 0.5–5 mm long. Calyx 2–4 mm long, including c. 0.5–1 mm receptacle; lobes equal, triangular or narrow-triangular, incurved at margins and in profile (tips sometimes recurved), c. 0.5–1 mm long. Corolla: standard broadly obovate, emarginate or with a broad shallow sinus at apex, 3–6 ??3–10 mm including c. 1–2 mm claw, colour varying from yellow with a small red ring surrounding a yellow centre through orange with a red ring surrounding a yellow centre to a deep watermelon red with a dark red ring surrounding a small yellow centre; wings obovate to broadly so, apex rounded, auriculate to deeply so at the base, 4–6 x?1.5–2.5 mm including 1–2 mm claw, colour maroon to red or red-brown; keel half transverse-broad-elliptic to -obovate, obtuse to very acute at apex, slightly saccate to deeply so and slightly auriculate to deeply so at the base, 4-5 x?1.5–2.5 mm including c. 1.5 mm claw, colour maroon to red. Stamens: inner whorl with filaments flattened to very flattened, anthers versatile or basifixed, thecae confluent; outer whorl with anthers flattened to slightly so, anthers basifixed, with two separate thecae; filaments overlapping. Style curving gently to sharply upwards. Pod triangular, compressed horizontally but still somewhat biconvex in section, beaked with persistent style at apex, c. 8 mm long, c. 5.5 mm wide, c. 2.5 mm thick, colour a light brown. Seed round-oblong, 3.5–4 mm long, 1.8–2 mm wide, c. 1.5 mm thick, colour light-medium brown; hilum very light orange-brown; aril round.

Flowering Period

August at low altitudes and latitudes to December at higher latitudes and altitudes.

Fruiting Period

September to January.


An extensive range, from tropical far north Queensland south to Tasmania and west to the Great Victoria Desert in Western Australia (for maps see individual subspecies).


Daviesia ulicifolia has affinities to D. arthropoda, D. sejugata, D. acicularis, D. arenaria and D. microcarpa, all of which belong to the informal D. ulicifolia group (Pate et al. 1989). Daviesia acicularis and D. microcarpa differ from the other species including D. ulicifolia in having a divaricate habit and spinescent branchlets. Daviesia microcarpa has teretetetragonal phyllodes, whereas D. ulicifolia has horizontally flattened phyllodes. Daviesia acicularis has a toothed phyllode margin, whereas D. ulicifolia has an entire margin. Daviesia arthropoda has narrow-obovate phyllodes and D. sejugata has narrowly elliptical to obovate phyllodes, whereas D. ulicifolia has basically ovate phyllodes (often narrow) that occasionally approach elliptical. Also, D. arthropoda and D. sejugata tend to have longer and broader phyllodes than D. ulicifolia. In D. ulicifolia, the calyx-lobes are incurved at the tips, whereas in D. sejugata and D. arthropoda they are gently recurved. Daviesia arenaria has a similar phyllode shape to some forms of D. ulicifolia (subspp. pilligensis and ruscifolia), but in D. ulicifolia subsp. ruscifolia the mid-vein is more prominent above than below, whereas in D. arenaria the mid-vein is more prominent below. In D. ulicifolia subsp. pilligensis the mid-vein is more or less equally prominent above and below, but it is strictly glabrous (D. arenaria is usually grey-hispid).

[Source: Gregory T. Chandler and Michael D. Crisp, "Contributions Towards a Revision of Daviesia (Fabaceae:Mirbelieae). IV.* D. ulicifolia sens. lat.", Australian Systematic Botany 10(1): 31-48 (1997)]