Vitex lignum-vitae (LAMIACEAE) Lignum-vitae, Satinwood

Plants to Plant

Medium tree to 30 m found in dry or subtropical rainforest from Richmond River, NSW to Cape York, North Queensland, and as far west as Bunya Mountains; found locally in the western suburbs of Brisbane and in D’Aguilar National Park. Also occurs in New Guinea. Leaves have pale lumps along the midrib, formed on the underside by domatia; these cavities are used by colonies of predatory mites. Flowers light purple ageing to pink. Appear December to January. Fruit a pink globular berry. Ripe January to May, eaten by green catbird and rose-crowned fruit dove. Propagation by seed, but with great difficulty as germination is erratic, taking up to two years; old seed seems to germinate more quickly.

Photo: Robert Whyte