Abrophyllum ornans

Native Hydrangea

Family: Rousseaceae

This is a small tree to 8 m tall; sometimes growing as a shrub. It has alternate leaves to 20 cm long and about 8 cm wide with irregularly toothed margins, each tooth bearing a small, blunt projection.

Flowers are small but produced in showy panicles at the terminals, greenish-yellow to white, and slightly fragrant, appearing from October to December.

Fruit is a purple/black berry about 5 mm in diameter which ripens in March to October.

The natural distribution is from the Illawarra of New South Wales to the McIlwraith Range in Queensland.

It grows in warm-temperate and subtropical rainforest along smaller watercourses.

It is a useful edge or pioneer species for rainforest restoration.

In the garden

It is grown as an ornamental, mainly for its large shiny leaves and showy fruit.

As a garden plant it requires a frost free shaded position and is hardy and fast growing if not allowed to dry out and given a cool position in a range of well-drained moist soils.

It also makes a good indoor plant.


Propagation is from fresh seed. Cuttings also strike with ease.

Other information

It is also classified in Escalloniaceae.

Abrophyllum = from the Gk. meaning delicate leaf
ornans = Lt for ornate; showily decorative or elaborate.

It likely grows in habitats where fire is not an issue and is likely to not respond well after fire.

It is not threatened in the wild.


By Jeff Howes