#17 Pimelea drupacea – Cherry Rice-flower

img_9183gA shrub with very attractive flowers in the Thymelaeaceae (Daphne) family. There are 90 species of the genus Pimelia endemic to Australia, but P. drupacea is found only in Tasmania, where it is common, and Victoria, where its conservation status is endangered. The genus Pimelea was named by Banks and Solander on Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific aboard Endeavour, while the species was named by Labillardiere on the d’Entrecasteaux expedition to Tasmania in 1792-3; “Pimelea” from the Greek pimele, meaning soft, fat, possibly referring to the seeds, “drupacea” meaning drupe-like fruit.  A drupe is a stone fruit (e.g. plum) – a fleshy fruit enclosing a seed.

img_1410gThe flowers are petal-less, with 4 silky-hairy sepals fused into a narrow tube with spreading lobes.  As shown in the photo (right), the flowers are white, sometimes tinged with pink.  They occur in dense clusters in the leaf axils or in terminal heads, surrounded by a group of bracts. (A bract is a modified leaf in the inflorescence, here standing below the flowers.. see the picture on the left.)

The leaves are simple, opposite and arranged in 4 ranks.

As the drupes form, their colour changes from bright green, then dark red, and finally shiny black. I saw many of these shrubs, up to about 2m high, along the track to the Red Shed.

This entry was posted in Native Plants of Maatsuyker Island and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to #17 Pimelea drupacea – Cherry Rice-flower

  1. Pingback: My Maatsuyker Island Plant List | MaatsuykerDreaming

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