A global citizen science platform
to discover, share and identify wildlife
Cordyline sp. (most likely C. stricta)
Cordyline stricta, also known as "black-fruited palm lily" and "slender palm lily", is an Australian native and belongs to the family Asparagaceae. It's an evergreen understorey plant that can grow to a height of 5 metres, although these specimens were a third of that size. Leaves are thin 30 to 50 cm long, and stems are upright. Mauve flowers form on panicles 20 to 40 cm long, and the flowering stems 15 to 30 cm long. This is the only Australian species of Cordyline to have black berries. Here's a previous spotting I made just recently in Sydney, bearing its black berries - https://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/26... However, this is not fruiting or flowering season, and there's also a second species that is very similar (see notes). Fruits and flowers are definitely the best way to ID this species, so I will have to wait and see what develops, although I'm confident I have the correct ID. This is also a host plant for yellow-streaked swift (aka Miskin's swift) caterpillars (Sabera dobboe). Cordyline stricta is also a recognised bush tucker plant. https://sustainability.uq.edu.au/project...
Native range forms a band from the southern border of Queensland to the Sydney region, but it has become naturalised in Victoria and possibly South Australia. It grows in rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests, with dark, moist gullies being the preferred habitats. This spotting was found along the Mt. Mathieson Trail at Mt. Mathieson, Spicers Gap, in wet sclerophyll forest, and this particular location was very well-sheltered and shaded. This area is part of Main Range National Park, and the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.
Another good reference is the Australian National Botanic Gardens site - https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/interns-2012... PS: A similar species which grows north of the Clarence River in NSW is Cordyline congesta - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cordyline_... However, C. congesta has jagged, fringed or scolloped leaf margins, particularly near the leaf base. It is also listed as a rare species, although both species share the same common name.