Plant of the Month – Quinine Berry

Quinine Berry Petalostigma triloculare

The name Petalostigma (pet-al-oh-STIG-muh) refers to the stigma which can be flattened like a petal.; and “Triloculare” (trill-OC–yu-lar) is derived from Latin and means three chambers.

Petalostigma triloculare is a shrub 3-5m with greyish trunk and dense oval shaped glossy dark green leaves. It has small green to cream flowers, summer to autumn. Male and female are on separate plants. The fruit is orange or reddish to 10mm, with a bitter taste.

These natives are known to grow well on stony or sandy soils and under gum trees, and attract the caterpillar of the Copper Jewel butterfly.

Local indigenous people were known to use the pounded fruit and other leaves as a fish poison, and the fruit as a tooth paste due to its strong astringent taste.

Information courtesy of Coolum Community Native Nursery

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