Eustrephus latifolius

Distribution Map
Family: Philesiaceae
Distribution: Dry and wet forests and heaths of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. It also occurs in New Guinea and New Caledonia.
Common Name: Wombat berry
Derivation of Name: Eustrephus....from Greek, eu, well and strepho, to twist, referring to the twining habit.
latifolius....having broad leaves.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Eustrephus latifolius is the sole member of the genus. It is usually a reasonably vigorous twining plant but may also occur as a scrambling ground cover. The leaves are lance-shaped to about 80 mm long and have conspicuous longitudinal veins. Flowers are about 15 mm diameter and occur in spring in the upper leaf axils. They are usually white or pale pink with very hairy petals. The flowers are followed by orange berries containing a number of shiny, black seeds. The fruits usually remain on the plant for many months.

There are two recognised varieties; var angustifolius differs from the typical form in having narrower leaves. Geitonoplesium cymosum is also closely related but differs in having flowers without hairy petals and with black fruits.

Eustrephus latifolius
Eustrephus latifolius
Eustrephus latifolius - Top: Flower and unripe fruit. Bottom: Ripe fruit
Photos: Brian Walters

Wombat berry is hardy in a range of soils and climates and is best if grown in a semi shaded position. It tolerates extended periods of dryness once established. It is not excessively vigorous and is unlikely to become a problem by smothering other plants.

The fleshy roots of the plant are edible.

Propagation is best carried out from fresh seed.

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