Erythroxylum sp. ‘Splityard Creek’ (plant)
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A member of the Erythroxylaceae family, E. australe is a shrub or small tree in dry rainforest north from the McPherson Range (NSW/QLD border). It also occurs in the Northern Territory. One or two sub-species possibly exist, one is Erythroxylum sp. ‘Splityard Creek’ which has wider leaves and veins which do not loop as much as E. australe. Erthroxylum ellipticum and Erythroxylum ecarinatum (rare and endangered) are other native Erthroxylum species which occur in North Queensland. Splityard Creek makes an attractive native ornamental shrub that is drought hardy. Native Erythroxylum species are illegal in some states, notably NSW.
The leaves of E. australe contain Meteloidine, a tropane alkaloid also present in Datura metel. Chewing of the leaves is said to produce an unpleasant constriction of the throat, whilst smoking the leaves produces a pleasant (?) effect similar to but milder than Datura sp. The roots of E. australe contain Dihydroxytropacocaine and Methylecgonidine which are likely to be active.
Care and Cultivation of Erythroxylum sp. ‘Splityard Creek’
Propagation of Erythroxylum sp. ‘Splityard Creek’ is by seed, cuttings appear to be very hard or impossible to strike. The ripe red or orange fruit contain one seed and tastes sweet, being sought after by birds. The seed is removed from the flesh and planted immediately (the seed should only be viable for a month or so). Plant 1cm deep in a rich moist potting mix and keep in full sun to just part shade, do not keep too wet. Germination should occur within 21 days.
Once they are big enough, they can be potted up separately or planted out. Drought tolerant once established, they make a handsome addition to the garden. They can be pruned, fertilised and watered regularly to maintain an attractive habit.
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