Eupomatia laurina

Bolwarra, Copper Laurel

Family: Eupomatiaceae

Family: Eupomatiaceae

A tree to 10 metres tall but usually smaller – growing as a large shrub. 

It has a mostly coastal distribution in NSW but is found as far west as the central western slopes (Coolah Tops National Park), extending south along the entire coast to as far as the Orbost-region in Victoria, and extending through Queensland, somewhat disjunctly, to south of Cook Town and then disjunctly in New Guinea.

It is found in warm temperate, sub-tropical and tropical rainforest as well as wet sclerophyll forest, on a range of soils, mainly enriched sandstone, shales and volcanics.

It has brown bark, somewhat corky and scaly with shallow longitudinal furrows with branchlets brown or black, hairless. Often the stems have a zig-zag pattern.  

Eupomatia spp. have simple and alternate leaves. They have a spicy smell when rubbed, to 16 cm long and to 6 cm wide, oblong-elliptic hairless and with a thickish texture and glossy upper surface.

Eupomatia spp. produce solitary or paired flowers in leaf axils and stem terminals. The petals and sepals are absent. A modified bract forms a lid or calyptra on the receptacle which is shed to “open the flower”. Some stamens have become ‘petaloid staminodes’ – functioning as petals and are arranged in up to 3 rows on the rim of the receptacle, surrounding the stamens and carpels. In this species, flowers are scented, white to cream, to 25 mm in diameter, chiefly in summer. 

The fruit is a berry, resembling rose hips, fleshy, green initially then turning yellow/brownish when ripe, to 25 mm in diameter, globose to urn-shaped and containing pale-coloured, edible, jelly-like flesh inside.

In the garden

In a garden situation this makes an excellent plant. 

It grows in sun or shade in most soils with adequate moisture. In dry periods, mulching and additional watering will keep it growing well. The flowers have a strong scent but only last one day. It is typically very hardy. 

Although it can get to 10 metres, it grows slowly and can easy be pruned to keep it bushier and shorter.  

It has been grown since last century as a garden plant and also makes a good container plant for both indoors and outdoors.

For best results, it needs pruning form an early age to encourage branching.

Fruit attracts fruit-eating birds and animals.  

Plants are usually available at local native and other nurseries.

E. laurina flowers are pollinated by Elleschodes weevils – which are thought to possibly be the only genus of animal that pollinates these plants. 


From seed ripening April – June and has a high germination rate.

Also quite easy to grow from cuttings

Other information

Eupomatia is a genus of 3 species and it is the only genus in the ancient plant family Eupomatiaceae. The three species occur in Australia with E. laurina occurring in New Guinea. NSW currently recognises 2 species.  

The sweet, aromatic fruit is used as a spice-fruit in cooking and in beverages, jams and desserts. 

This species grows mostly in areas where fire does not usually occur but this may change in the face of climate change. It may be able to regenerate from seed after fire.

Eupomatia – from the Greek eu (εὖ) meaning “well”, “good” or “true” and pomatos (πώμᾰτος), a “lid” or “cover”; referring to the bracts which are fused into a deciduous cap on each flower. 

laurina – Latin, Laurus – referring to the genus of laurels for its similarity.

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

The Australian Botanical Garden Mount Annan profile page for Eupomatia laurina https://www.australianbotanicgarden.com.au/plants/flowering-calendar/eupomatia-laurina

Mansfield, D. Australian Rainforest Plants For Your Garden. 1992 Simon and Schuster. Page 139: Eupomatia laurina profile page.

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

Wikipedia – Eupomatia laurina profile page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eupomatia_laurina

Plants of South Eastern New South Wales – Lucidcentral identification mobile/online app –      Eupomatia laurina profile page  https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/eupomatia_laurina.htm

By Dan Clarke and Jeff Howes.