Elaeocarpus reticulatus (ELAEOCARPACEAE) Blueberry Ash

Plants to Plant

Blueberry Ash is a small tree to 8 m found along water courses, often on sandy soils. Endemic Australian species, occurring all along the east coast from Fraser Island, Queensland down to Flinders Island, Tasmania in warmer temperate conditions along the coast. Not found at cooler high altitudes or in areas experiencing frosts. Leaves 5-11 cm with toothed margins dark green above, paler below, gradually tapering into the base and drawn out to a point at the apex. As the leaves age, they turn a bright red whilst still on the tree. Masses of white and sometimes pinkish flowers in rows along the branchlets are cup-shaped with a fringed edge and an unusual liquorice scent October to January. The fruit is a drupe, purple-blue, ovoid, 10-12 mm in diameter with a thin layer of edible flesh ripe May to June. Scarified seeds should be sown fresh. Can take up to 2 years to germinate. Can be grown from cuttings. Elaeocarpus from Greek elaia the olive tree and karpos a fruit in reference to the similarity of the fruit to the olive. Reticulatus from Latin reticulatus like a net or marked referring to the conspicuous net veins of the leaves. Also known as Blue Olive Berry, Scrub Ash, Ash Quandong, Fairy Petticoats, Koda, Native Olive, Fringe Bells. The Regent Bowerbird collects fruit for their blue colour. Wonga Pigeons, Crimson Rosellas, Figbirds, White-headed Pigeons and Olive-backed Orioles eat the fruit. Host plant for Eastern or Bronze Flat Netrocoryne repanda repanda. Various species of sawfly or spitfire larvae can defoliate this plant if in large numbers.
 Photo: Robert Whyte