Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Fontain’s Blushwood

Another tree that’s in fruit at the moment is Fontain’s blushwood (Fontainea picrosperma, family Euphorbiaceae). This species restricted to higher altitudes on the central and southern Atherton Tablelands and is the only species in the genus in Far North Queensland. (See map below.)

Blushwood flowers, 9 December 2011

The flesh is a pale watermelon pink under a light green rind. You’ll have to take my word for it, because it has dried out to an unappetising yellow in the photos here. I’m not sure what is taking the fruit — white-tailed rats or possums — but they disappear as soon as they ripen. And I'm sure they're not teleporting into a parallel universe. Well, pretty sure.

Ripening fruit, 30 December 2011
30 December 2011

Ripe fruit cut open to show seed, 8 January 2012

Characteristic single five-lobed seed

Distribution of Fontainea picrosperma
Specimen data reproduced from Australia's Virtual Herbarium
with permission of the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria Inc.

(Thanks to Angela from TREAT, who identified it from my description — no mean feat.)


Bernie H said...

This is a new one for me! What lovely flowers and the fruit looks rather delicious. How fantastic that you have such a special tree!

Snail said...

I'd never heard of it before either. I reckon it'd be another rainforest species that would do well as a specimen tree in the right setting. The large seeds and requirement for cooler temps would probably prevent it from becoming a pest elsewhere. (Note: Not a guarantee.)

Anonymous said...

Nice site to find a description of this.

The plant is now listed in some articles by a company promoting anti-cancer drug extracted from it.

Anonymous said...

Anyone knows if these blushwood berries are sold anywhere in Sydney? My father has brain tumour and they have been in the news lately as being possibly a magical treatment for tumours of the head

Anonymous said...

Thx for the article! Does anyone knows where the blushwood are sold in the www? I would like to cultivate it.

Vergean said...


Could you tell me where I could buy the seeds of this plant to grow it in Belgium in glasshouse.

Thank you Vergean

Anonymous said...

Hello plz could u tell where can we find the Fontainea Picrosperma I read a lot about it which can cure cancer plz any information how can we find or buy . Thank u so much. Bessy.

Mohamed Saliem said...

Hi where can i buy seeds from please help f I r my sik mum

Mohamed Saliem said...

Hi where can i buy seeds from please help f I r my sik mum

Anonymous said...

So they have been trialing this drug for eight years. In secret I'm sure so to not alert anyone else that would have the capacity to synthesize the active compound. What I'm wondering about is what pointed them in the direction for looking at this fruit.
This article is the first to mention longstanding use by Aboriginals for it's fast acting healing properties (can they/you be mere specific?). But I doubt that Aboriginals were using hypodermic needles to inject themselves or had the active compound synthesized. So I'm fairly sure that there is an easier way (ingestion or rubbing / pasting a la black salve).
But because of the confinement of this species there is no real risk that 99.9% of patients could help themselves to this cure and that's why they let the world know about it. It's an advertising campaign.

Snail said...

I think you've commented on the wrong post. I haven't mentioned anything about traditional or medical use.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hey Snail , can you sell me some seeds? And dont call me Shirley