Plant of the Month
Plant of the Month: What’s in a name? Hard Quandong
February 02, 2021

(Elaeocarpus obovatus)

Also known as Blueberry Ash, Whitewood, Grey Carabeen, Freckled Oliveberry and Grey Carrobeen, despite the plethora of names it is not related to the other Quandongs (Santalum spp.), Ashes (Mountain Ash, Red Ash, Claret Ash, Himalayan Ash) or the Carabeens (Yellow Carabeen Sloanea woolsii, Red Carabeen Karrabina benthamiana , {another} Red Carabeen Pseudoweinmannia lachnocarpa). Now you know why botanists tend to avoid using common names!

The Hard Quandong (or Ash if you prefer) is a rainforest species that grows, generally along the coast, north from Gosford to about Cooktown. In the Hunter, it grows inland to about Singleton. It can grow to 45m tall however 10-15 metres is the more usual around this area. The trunk is grey and often buttressed, leaves 5-10cm long, 1-4 cm wide, leaf margins irregularly toothed to entire, glossy on both sides with the underside paler. The main distinguishing characteristic is the attractive blue fruits.

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Propagation is apparently tricky sometimes taking months (if at all) however I got some seeds on a property visit the other day so have a couple of things to try.

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Elaeocarpus obovatus fruit

And if you’ve ever gone to the Kooragang Wetland Rehabilitation Project on Ash Island, this is the tree the island is named after (and there’s still a few hidden in the rainforest).

https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Elaeocarpus~obovatus