Plant of the month – Cyclophyllum coprosmoides, Coast Canthium.

I am quite pleased to have a bench full of vibrant young plants of this species to promote this month. Several times I have myself collected up seed and tried to propagate this species, with very poor results. But another landcare member must have brought a great seed sample in from the Widgee/Wonga area that led to our current healthy batch of Coast Canthiums.

The Coast Canthium is one of a few species that taxonomists have re-arranged in recent times, but I won’t weigh you down with the semantics of that. Once the dust had settled around the classification, we were left with Cyclophyllum coprosmoides var. coprosmoides being the name for this particular type of canthium that grows in our area. It can be found in coastal or littoral rainforest, dry rainforest and also in wet eucalypt forest around the Gymipie region.

This plant first caught my eye along the roadside where I live, when it was decorated in orange-red fruits one summertime. Since then, I have also come to notice the subtler but still beautiful show of small white flowers, anywhere from autumn to spring depending on the seasonal conditions. The other features that struck me included the glossy vibrant green leaves and its iconic ‘tree’ growth form – a single straight main trunk and tiers of almost-horizontal branches. But ‘tree’ it ain’t – at least, not likely in our lifetimes. According to the identification texts, it can grow to ten metres, but the growth rates I have observed makes me think it would be well suited to a garden shrub or small tree, particularly if grown on the typically hard, rocky soils of our area. It is also well suited for understory or edge plantings in revegetation, adding structure and habitat once the faster plants have captured an area. It would probably require a lot of maintenance if planted in an open/grassy field, unless first grown on in larger pots.

The nursery has a good number of tubestock currently available. If you prefer advanced plants, keep this in mind for your Christmas shopping list as we will be potting-up some of these tubestock to larger tubes and pots. Keep it in mind as a native ‘Christmas tree’ too, if you decide to have one in a feature pot on the patio!

Shane Litherland | Nursery Manager