|Positive ||Meadstone ||On Jan 12, 2010, Meadstone from Hobart
This tree has been at the centre of my family's main christmas tradition for years. As a perfect tree to decorate for an Australian christmas, the Native Cherry bears delicious fruit in the festive season and smells wonderful when it begins to dry. Make sure it is placed in water as soon as it is cut.
|Neutral ||kennedyh ||On Jul 8, 2003, kennedyh from Churchill, Victoria
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:
Cherry Ballart is a very unusual tree. It cannot grow on its own, but at least in its younger stages, it is a root parasite. It usually grows attached to a Eucalyptus tree, but it can also attach to some Acacia species.
The tree is a fresh green, which is uncommon in the Australian bush, making it attractive for its foliage. The leaves are reduced to scales and it is the slender stems that are bright green and perform the photosynthesis for the tree.
The flowers are minute, green stars, only 1.5 mm across, but the fruit is rather more conspicuous. It has a berry-like fruit, which goes from green to yellow to orange, to red and is good to eat. The fruit is not a berry however. The edible part is the swollen fruit stalk, and the seed sits on top of it. That explains the name exocarpus, for having a seed outside the fruit.
These trees are very hard to grow and are very rare in gardens, but I have managed to establish one.
I was given a small tree, about 1.5 metres high, in a pot. It had been dug up by the University gardeners while clearing some ground. I quickly planted it about 2 metres from a young Ironbark tree (Eucalyptus sideroxylon) in my garden. For the next 6 months, the tree went backward. The tips of the branchlets went brown and the green portion, reduced to about half the original size and I thought I was goiung to lose it. Then it suddenly began to pick up and grow. At that point, it must have succeeded in attaching itself to the roots of the Ironbark. From then on it has thrived and is now nearly 3 metres tall and growing well. I am hoping that it will soon set its first flowers.
I was given some more young plants by the gardeners and have managed to establish one in an arboretum we have set up in our local park. That was in a pot with a Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) and the Charry Ballart and its host are growing together in our arboretum.