Choricarpia is a small genus of 2 species, both occurring in eastern Australia. Choricarpia leptopetala is a small tree or tall shrub with flaky bark and reaching 5 to 12 metres high. The leaves are opposite, oval to elliptical in shape, tapering to a point and are up to 150 mm long by 55 mm wide. The undersides of the leaves have short greyish or rusty coloured hairs and the young shoots also have short, rusty hairs. The flowers are very small but clustered into globular shaped heads about 15 – 20 mm in diameter. The stamens of the flowers are very prominent. Flower colour is cream to white aging to brown and flowers are usually seen in winter and spring. The brown seed capsules are decorative and remain on the plant for some time.
Choricarpia leptopetala is not often seen in cultivation but has proven to be a hardy and adaptable plant for most reasonably drained soils in a sunny or semi-shaded location. It is tolerant of at least moderate frost.
Propagation is relatively easy from seed which does not require any special pre-treatment. Cuttings are also successful but may be slow to strike.
Photo: Christine Ashe