CHEESEBERRIES - CYATHODES & LEPTECOPHYLLA  (Epacridaceae)
This small genus consists of eleven species, and they are all Tasmanian endemics except L. juniperina which extends to Victoria and New Zealand. Unlike the other members of the genus, in Tasmania L. juniperina is common on hillsides and the Central Plateau and down to sea level in many places in the north, west, south-west and and Bass Strait Islands.  The first three species mentioned below are montane plants in the wetter parts of the State but L. divaricata is found on rocky upland sites between Launceston and Swansea. C. abietina is found on exposed rocky coasts in the south-west and west and on southern islands The flowers are small and almost unnoticeable but the colourful fruits of bright red, pink, mauve or white drupes (false berries containing a stone with a single seed) from late summer to autumn and winter make an eye-catching display against the drab green of the trees.
Cyathea straminea CYATHODES STRAMINEA   Cheeseberry

A much branched spreading shrub, leaves short up to 1.5cm  and clustered in apparent whorls towards  the end of the branches, the twigs are bare between successive groups of whorls. Leaves elliptical, blunt, lower surface paler and striate. Flowering is in summer although the fruit can be present much of the year. Flowers are creamy white, long-tubular, of 5 joined petals, stamens near mouth of tube. Fruit a flattened red drupe resembling an Edam cheese.  Cultivation: seeds are said to germinate more readily after being eaten and regurgitated by by a bird but plants are not easy to grow. Distribution - frequent on dolerite mountains above 1000m.

CYATHODES GLAUCA    Cheeseberry

A leggy shrub usually to 3 m with semi-erect or spreading branches arising in rings at intervals from the stem; leaves often persisting just below the branches and crowded in apparent whorls near the ends of them, with intervals of bare stem in between. Leaves 1.5-3 cm long, narrow-elliptical, pointed, striate beneath. Flowers 6-10 mm long in terminal axils, white, tubular with slightly hairy leaves. Berries are flattened drupes, pink, mauve, purple or white, 8 mm in diameter, in leafy clusters at the ends of branches. Flowering December-January. Common and widespread on wet hillsides and mountain foothills to 1100 m. At higher altitudes this is replaced by C. straminea (see above)

Cyathodes glauca
Leptecophylla parvifolia LEPTECOPHYLLA PARVIFOLIA       Mountain Berry
(prev. Cyathodes parvifolia)

Small compact shrub to 1 m in wet cold areas up to 1200 m and most frequent in the snow gum woodlands, but extending downwards from there.  In May the female plants are densely covered with spherical berries about 6 mm across in varying shades of pink and red. Leaves are about 6 mm, linear-lanceolate, prickly, dark green with fine white stripes underneath. Numerous small cream bell-shaped flowers are borne in the leaf axils; male and female flowers on different plants. Flowering in September-December. 

LEPTECOPHYLLA ABIETINA     West Coast Pink Berry
(prev. Cyathodes abietina)

An erect much-branched shrub to 2 m high with crowded leaves and large pink berries. Leaves large, 10-15 mm long, linear-lanceolate, tough and thick, grooved underneath and hard pointed. Flowers solitary, clustered near the ends of branches, white, tubular, both lobes and inside of tube hairy, stamens protruding. Fruit, pink fleshy drupe, spherical about 2 mm diameter. 
Flowering October-December.  Found on exposed rocky coasts in south west and west and on southern islands.

Leptecophylla abietina
Photo courtesy of Launceston Field Naturalists Club
LEPTECOPHYLLA DIVARICATA 
(prev. Cyathodes divaricata)

This shrub is usually 1 m tall and the narrow linear leaves are often crowded, particularly at the ends of the branches. The fruits are about 8 mm in diameter and vary in colour from pale-pink to red. Flowering is in late autumn to early spring. Grows on dry rocky sites in woodlands usually within 40 km of the south-eastern coast.

Leptecophylla divaricata reproduced from Woodland Wildflowers Identikit
LEPTECOPHYLLA JUNIPERINA 
(prev. Cyathodes juniperina)

This has small needle-like leaves 10-15mm long and whitish underneath and is a dense, bushy shrub  up to 2 m tall.
Small white bell-shaped flowers occur along the young branches amongst the leaves and are followed by pink or red drupes which tend to be present through much of the year. Flowering period late winter and early spring.

Leptecophylla juniperina reproduced from Rainforest Plants Identikit

Researched from "A Guide to Flowers & Plants of Tasmania" published by the Launceston Field Naturalists Club, and the Society's Identikits.

Top
Index
Home