Billardiera cymosa

Sweet Apple Berry

Family: Pittosporaceae

Billardiera cymosa is a slender climber, or scrambling shrub, growing to about 2 m tall with potentially many stems.

It is found in the far west of Victoria and much of the south coast of South Australia.

It typically grows in dry semi-arid shrublands and coastal heathlands.

Billardiera spp. have simple and alternate leaves. In this species, they are to 70 mm long by 12 mm wide, narrow-ovate to obovate to linear, mid-green in colour.

Billardiera spp. produce decorative 5-petaled flowers, either solitarily or in cymes. In this species, flowers are tubular with flared tips, to 2 cm across and about 2 cm long, pale-blue to pale-pink-purple, produced in terminal cymes of up to 12, appearring in spring and early summer with sporadic flowering at other times.

The flowers are followed by berries about 2 cm long which resemble a minature green kiwi-fruit; becoming dark purple when ripe.

In the garden

A very nice plant to grow. It can flower profusely once it is advanced. It is a ‘light’ climber and is useful for small structures and supports. It can be planted out in the open without support where it will form a good groundcover-shrub. Suited to small gardens as well as larger.

It will tolerate an open sunny to part shade condition, on a free draining soil. Give some water in dry times. More sun will produce a more compact-bush.

There has been some interest in developing the species as a bush food. The flesh is said to have a similar texture to kiwi fruit. B. scandens has similar edible fruit.


Propagate from seed as well as cuttings.

Other information

First Nations Peoples of Australia ate the ripe fruit and used dried berries for trading.

Billardiera is a small genus of about 10 species all endemic to Australia. NSW currently has 7 species.

This species will regenerate after fire from the seed bank and reshooting root-stocks.

Billardiera – named after Jacques-Julien Houtou de Labillardière (1755 – 1834) – prominent French Botanist who came to Australia in 1792 and ended up publishing the first Flora of Australia.

cymosa – Latin – bearing ‘cymes’ – the inflorescence type for the species.

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

VICFlora – Flora of Victoria Online – Billardiera cymosa profile page https://vicflora.rbg.vic.gov.au/flora/taxon/5248e332-b8d8-4632-b25f-f3bb1a119357

Gardening with Angus – Billardiera cymosa profile page https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/billardiera-cymosa-sweet-apple-berry/

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

By Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.