Chris Hansen passed on to MBBA these details received from Sandy Pollock of the Queensland Herbarium re Clusia rosea. See letter below.
It’s really important that we keep our eyes open for any potential new threats and work with the relevant authorities to identify/eradicate and document any new environmental weeds. We all know what garden and pot plant escapees can do when they get away!
I just thought I might summarise the information I currently have on Clusia rosea. We have recent records of this species becoming naturalised in about 3-4 locations in the Coolum district of the Sunshine Coast. This is of concern, as the species is a known weed in parts of Hawaii, as mentioned here – http://www.hear.org/starr/hiplants/reports/pdf/clusia_rosea.pdf Thanks to our colleagues within QPWS for removing these plants, and sounding the alarm for this one.
The attachment helps in identification of C. rosea for those who haven’t seen it before.
It may be of interest to know the species is rarely cultivated in Queensland generally. However, I can confirm street trees in highly localised parts of Cairns (apparently less than a dozen trees), and it appears to be present in the Townsville Palmetum. There is a well-documented example in the Bundaberg Regional Botanic Gardens.https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/bundaberg/there-is-something-unique-hidden-in-the-trees/news-story/07aff88093113eab7a5bfaa3208647ac
The species has been flowering and fruiting recently (between March and May), based on the one tree I have been watching in Chapel Hill this year. There is also a single individual in the Tropical Dome at Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, that has been there for some 30 years, but rarely, if ever, produces fruit. This individual is fully contained within a geodesic dome, in tropical conditions. A relatively tall individual, it prominently displays the aerial root system, almost like a tropical pandanus or Ficus.
The images I’ve provided are from Brisbane examples. While somewhat obscure and relatively little known, the species appears to have become, very recently, popularly promoted within the Pohlmans Wholesale Nursery as a dwarf indoor plant. https://www.pohlmans.com.au/products/indoor-foliage/life-indoors-platinum-range/clusea-rosea-princess/ This appears to be in the last 2-3 months or so, as part of a recent indoor plant trend in horticultural fashion. The available evidence suggests that small plants eventually become larger individuals if planted outdoors, based on Hawaii observations.
Welcome feedback and further advice on this species. Probably need more info from the Cairns area about this species.
Alexander (Sandy) Pollock
Senior Ecologist, Weed Spotters Network Queensland Coordinator