Androcalva is an endemic genus of 33 species, many formerly included in Commersonia and Rulingia. They range in size from small shrubs to small trees and have stems, leaves and flowers covered with stellate (star-like) hairs.
Androcalva fraseri (previously Commersonia fraseri) is a tall shrub or small tree from 2 to 5 metres high by a similar width. The mid to dark green leaves are an elongated oval shape from 5 to 20 cm long with toothed margins. They are covered with short hairs on the under surface which gives a greyish appearance. The small white to cream flowers appear in a massed display during spring and summer. The individual flowers are about 1 cm in diameter.
Although not widely cultivated, this is a hardy shrub for a semi-shaded location in a range of climates and moist soils. Given its habitat in the wild, it may require regular watering during extended dry periods. The plant is tolerant of at least moderate frosts.
Propagation may be carried out from seed without pretreatment. Cuttings of firm, current season’s growth are reported to strike readily.
Photo: Brian Walters