Cerbera foribunda— Cassowary Plum, Grey Milkwood, Brebong —APOCYNACEAE

Cerbera foribunda

Link to Images on Flickr.

Habitat—Lowland Rainforest.

Distribution— Widespread in the Cape York Peninsula and Tropical North East Queensland. Also in New Guinea

Description—Shrub, small tree to 30 meters.

Local occurrences

Raintrees Diamond Beach and The North Coast Regional Botanic Gardens Coffs Harbour

Leaves.—Simple, In pseudo–whorls, milky latex present in petioles or twigs, no translucent dots in leaves. Leaves lanceolate, crowded towards the ends of the rather stout twigs, 9 to 30 cm long, 2 to 5 cm wide. Petioles 3 to 4 cm long,lateral veins 13 to 20 on each side of the midrib. Glossy dark green above, slightly duller below.

Cerbera foribunda
Cerbera foribunda

Inflorescence.— Jasmine like, 2.5 to 3 cm diam, center pink to reddish; sepals about 5 to 6.5 mm long; corolla tube 8 to 12 mm long, lobes 7 to 15 mm long, white.

Flowering.— Spring to Summer.

Fruit.— Egg shaped, large, smooth, blue; 9 to 11 long, 4.5 to 5.5 cm wide; endocarp thick, woody and fibrous. Fresh fruits produce a milky exudate when cut. The plum's sap is poisonous to most animals, including humans, but not to Cassowaries, which consume the fruit with no ill effects, because of their short and fast digestive system.

Ripe.—Winter.

Cerbera foribunda