Anopterus macleayanus

Family: Escalloniaceae

A shrub or tree to 8 metres with a spreading open crown to about 4 metres. It is found in sub-tropical areas of south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern NSW.  In cultivation, it does not grow as tall as in its natural habitat of higher elevations where it is constantly moist.

It has large, glossy, dark green toothed leaves 30 cm long and 5 cm wide.

Attractive fragrant white terminal flowers are produced from mid spring to early summer.

I have had two Anopterus macleayanus plants growing for many years in my northern suburbs Sydney garden. They receive morning sun and afternoon shade. Ideally, they need constant soil moisture to grow at their best, however my plants are growing quite well, under a large 80 year old English oak, in a raised bed which has a good covering of leave litter. They only need supplementary watering in extended dry periods in summer. 

In the garden

Author’s notes:

These plants make a great feature plant in the right position OR an attractive pot plant suitable for indoor decoration.

I occasionally prune branches back by about a 1/3 to maintain it as an informal hedge.

Editor’s notes: 

Grow on a well-drained enriched soil. It reponds well to addition of organic fertilisers and additional water. Best planted in dappled shade. 


Propagation is easy from seed

Other information

This species is likely not overly prone to bushfire and is likely detrimented by fire in terms of regeneration. 

Anopterus is a genus of two species, endemic to Australia; this one occurring in NSW and Queensland and a second species, A. glandulosus, endemic to Tasmania.

Anopterus – from the Greek ano (ανω) – meaning “above” or “upwards” and –pteron (πτέρον) meaning “feather” or “wing” – referring to the winged-nature of the seeds in the fruit. 

macleayanus – This species was first formally described in 1859 by botanist Ferdinand von Mueller who named it in Honour of Sir William Macleay (1820 – 1891); a Scottish-Australian politician and zoologist and first president of the Linnean Society of New South Wales. 

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild. 

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Anopterus macleayanus profile page      https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Anopterus~macleayanus

Wikipedia – Anopterus macleayanus profile page            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anopterus_macleayanus 

Flora and Fauna of the Mid North Coast of New South Wales – Anopterus macleayanus factsheet http://www.floragreatlakes.info/html/rfspecies/laurel.html 

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.