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The Butterfly Bush (Petalostylis cassioides) is closely related to the cassias and occurs only in Australia, found growing widely in the dry inland parts of Australia. It is a spreading shrub growing to about 1-1.5 metres high. It has hairy covering which is sparse to dense.

Leaves: pinnate – the leaves have many small leaflets (23-55), which are mostly notched and sometimes hooked.

Flowers: flowers appear in clusters of 1-3, with 5 petals , spreading, a deep yellow with red marking that appear like ‘eyebrows’, taken together sometimes ‘heart shape’ in appearance, on the upper petals. The 3 stamens in the centre and the style projects like a boat-shaped petal.

Aborigines rubbed the crushed leaves on the skin to treat various ailments1.

It is placed in the subfamily Caesalpiniaceae. The genus Petalostylis refers to the prominent style in the centre of the flowers, which is broadly winged and boat-shaped and resembles a petal (Moore, 2005).


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Clade: Rosids
  • Order: Fabales
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Subfamily: Dialioideae
  • Genus: Petalostylis
  • Species: P. cassioides
  • Binomial name: Petalostylis cassioides