SPECIES: Elaeocarpus williamsianus — Hairy Quandong


Plants are the basis of any ecosystem. They provide oxygen, shelter, food, breeding sites for creatures, just to name a few. The Hairy Quandong is no exception. It's an endangered rainforest tree, found along the north-east coast of New South Wales. It has dark-green, smooth, glossy leaves and the underside of the leaves is covered in rusty-brown hairs. Hence the name. Flowers are pale green and in clusters and its fruit is blue, shiny and round. It will grow up to 16m in height.

The Hairy Quandong is only known from nine populations in the Tweed Valley down to Byron Bay. These occur in conservation areas, private property and even a roadside site. They are found on steep slopes, in gullies or adjacent to creeks. Most existing plants are clones, so they carry an identical genetic makeup. The Hairy Quandong relies on native pigeons and bats for seed dispersion. Major threats to the survival of the Hairy Quandong include weed invasion, having a narrow genetic base and fire.

And yes, the fruit is edible if you get stuck.

Photo:Peter Woodard - Own work, CC0,

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