The native frangipani

The native frangipani

The native frangipani (Hymenosporum flavum) is a fast-growing, evergreen small tree. The sparse branches radiate from the grey-barked trunk in whorls giving the tree a pyramid shape. Naturally found in rainforests from New South Wales along the Qld coast to New Guinea, it is the only member of its genus and is closely related to the Pittosporums. With its glossy green, lanceolate leaves this tree is attractive throughout the year but in spring it becomes a thing of beauty with its canopy covered in masses of highly fragrant, frangipani-like flowers, each about 4cm long, which start off white and gradually become a deep sulphur yellow. Bees, butterflies and many other beneficial insects are drawn to the flowers which can also be used to make fragrant oils.. Small, pear-shaped capsules containing a large number of winged seeds follow flowering.

This tree does not have invasive roots as long as it is planted about 3.5m from sewerage and underground service lines and has bush fire retardant properties. It grows in a variety of soil types that are moderately well drained but prefers acidic to neutral conditions. It readily establishes on flat ground, in gullies and on slopes and is good for erosion control. This is a low maintenance tree that once established requires water only in extended dry conditions and will tolerate moderate frosts. Although the native frangipani flowers best when grown in full sun, it will grow in partial shade. Light pruning after flowering encourages a bushier shape whilst old trees can be rejuvenated with a heavier pruning of old wood. Thus, this plant can be used in a variety of sites – in revegetation projects, in parks, most gardens and, when young, in tubs.

Hymenosporum flavum
Hymenosporum flavum. Photograph by Heather Knowles.
Hymenosporum flavum
Hymenosporum flavum. Photograph by Heather Knowles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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