Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mapoon Bush

Psychotria loniceroides

This plant is flowering beside the walking track at Ravensbourne. The starry white flowers will be followed by yellow fruits which are edible when very ripe, but are rather insipid in flavour. The birds like them, though.

The name “loniceroides” suggests that the soft, velvety leaves are like Lonica - honeysuckle - but you’d have to say that the resemblance is slight!

In nature it grows as an understorey plant in dry rainforests. In a garden, it grows as a shrub, usually about 2m high. It is suitable for growing under trees and in densely shady places where it may stretch to reach the light, reaching as much as 5m in height. For a compact shrub in those conditions it would need pruning to keep the shape neat and the foliage dense. In full sun it won’t grow so high, but the foliage will be denser, and it will flower and fruit more prolifically.
Mulch to keep the soil damp will also improve the appearance of this drought-hardy plant. It needs well-drained soil, and grows very well on our local red soil.

No comments: