Queensland Laurels

Queensland Laurels

The genus Neolitsea, in the laurel family, is found throughout south-east Asia and along the Queensland coast into NSW. There are about 85 different types of these evergreen shrubs and small trees that are typically found in the rainforest understory. Two of these species, the white bolly gum (Neolitsea dealbata) and grey bolly gum (Neolitsea australiensis) are relatively common in SE Queensland and endemic to Australia.

The white bolly gum usually grows to less than 10m tall in cultivation and is ideal for a semi-shaded spot in the garden. The elliptical leaves, which are dark green on the upper surface with a pale lower surface covered in white-brown hairs, arise in whorls from the stems. Young stems and leaves are pinkish in colour and hang limply down. The small fragrant, cream flowers from February to June are followed by globular purple-black, fleshy fruit. Like many of our rainforest species, these plants provide food for a number of species. The leaves are used by the blue triangle butterfly whilst the fruit is eaten by the brown cuckoo dove, green catbird, topknot pigeon, wompoo fruit dove and white-headed pigeon.

Neolitsea dealbata, “White Bolly Gum” – Photograph courtesy of Neil Murphy.

If you are looking for a replacement for the invasive camphor laurel on your property, the native laurels Neolitsea, Endiamdra and Cryptocarpa are worth considering.

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