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Narrow-leaved Palm Lily (fruiting)

Cordyline 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 half 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. 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. NB: None of the Cordyline species are either palm nor lily. They are actually members of the asparagus family Asparagaceae, and the sub-family Lomandroideae,


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 a well-shaded track amongst dense undergrowth in the Cumberland State Forest, in Sydney's northwest. Larger trees such as blackbutts, grey, red and blue gums, overshadow the entire area. Recent rains these past few weeks has greened vegetation up considerably, particularly after such a long drought. Here's some park info:


As it's now Autumn, flowering of these plants is well-and-truly over, but every plant I saw was heavy with black berries. Even in the shade they were so obvious, and the fruit is what helped me ID this spotting. Otherwise, the plants are fairly nondescript and blend so well into the undergrowth. PS: Another good reference is the Australian National Botanic Gardens site.

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Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

West Pennant Hills, New South Wales, Australia

Spotted on Mar 30, 2019
Submitted on Apr 6, 2019

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