The August plant of the month is Petalostigma Trioculare, or Coastal Quinine bush. This medium sized tree is an excellent screening plant which also attracts birds and butterflies.
Petalostigma Trioculare occurs in drier rainforest areas of South East Queensland and North East NSW, often on sandy soil. It has a stem diameter up to 25cm with a trunk that is swollen at the base and covered with dark grey bark with some vertical fissures and cracks.
New leaf buds are furry and narrow elliptical shape are green above and a felty dull grey underneath. Small yellow male and female flowers are borne on separate trees from summer to autumn. The male flowers are in clusters with a strong lemony scent while the female flowers are solitary.
The orange/reddish brown fruit are produced by the female plant. They ripen explosively throwing out parts of the fruit as far as 4 metres away.
It is thought by some that pregnancy can be avoided by eating the fruit … although it is not recommended and there are other more reliable methods of birth control.