Monday, December 16, 2013

Scentless Rosewood

Synoum glandulosum

This delightful little ornamental tree is not grown as often as it deserves. It is a well-known understorey plant in the rainforests of Australia's Eastern coast, including the Darling Downs south of Cunningham's Gap where it grows in the rainforesty bits on red basalt soil.
I do wonder whether its dreary common name is part of the problem. If a rosewood is famous for its scented wood, what kind of a nonentity is a "scentless rosewood"? It's not a name to attract the buyers!
In fact this is a delightful large shrub or small tree, able to reach 7m in its native rainforest, but unlikely to grow higher than 4m in a garden.
The dark green leaves give it a shady canopy. And its little white flowers are sweetly scented! Butterflies love them.
Scentless rosewood fruits prolifically, and has rather curious seeds.

At first glance, the pink seed capsules seem to contain three of them. A closer look, however, reveals that the “seeds” are neat little bundles, each containing two seeds and two large orange-red arils, packed together in seed shape. To a bird, this would be a very tasty mouthful indeed.
For those who want to grow rainforest plants in suburban gardens, this plant is an ideal choice.

No comments: