Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cherry Ballart, Native Cherry
Exocarpos cupressiformis

Family: Santalaceae
Genus: Exocarpos (eks-oh-KAR-pos) (Info)
Species: cupressiformis (koo-press-ih-FOR-miss) (Info)

2 members have or want this plant for trade.

Parasites and Hemiparasites

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

Unknown - Tell us

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From leaf cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked
From spores

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

Click thumbnail
to view:

By kennedyh
Thumbnail #1 of Exocarpos cupressiformis by kennedyh

By jdcb42
Thumbnail #2 of Exocarpos cupressiformis by jdcb42

By Meadstone
Thumbnail #3 of Exocarpos cupressiformis by Meadstone


2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Meadstone On Jan 12, 2010, Meadstone from Hobart
Australia wrote:

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.

Positive aussiemutha1 On Jun 22, 2008, aussiemutha1 from Drummond North - Victoria
Australia wrote:

I have a large number of these growing on my property - At Drummond North Victoria Australia - I doubt that the average gardener would have much joy with these - as the circumstances required for them to multiply are fairly unique - Temperature Range -6C - +42C Devoid of topsoil - Acid Eucalypyt Forrested steep stony Jurrasiac Sandstone Long undisturbed Gold mining country - salty with a touch of Selenium and a noticeable liking for Arsenic - Now for the Kicker - I don't plant these - I only culture them when my co-tennants plant them - As with most Santalums you need the local native furry creatures - in my case Anticinus - Kangaroo Rat - It seems the micro fauna in the saliva of the Anticinus triggers the seed - with santalums its the Dunnarts who plant them - Without this the strike rate is very poor - The creatures also know exactly where the roots for them to parasite to are and always plant them the same way - 4-5 seeds in a row planted in a groove left uncovered by the creature but quickly covered with gum leaves by the wind. Perhaps a tip from some of our Good Oldboys would be usefull for the determined - Feed the seed to your free-range hens and transport the manure from their pen to you nearest Eucalypt Forrest and watch and wait - then you could move them to a new host - Their pretty easy to pick in the forrest - There the only trees with no leaves - I'll get back with some photo's - Regards Aussiemutha1

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.

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