Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network

Waterhousea floribunda (MYRTACEAE); Weeping lilly pilly, weeping myrtle

Image: Foliage, flowers, buds, red leaf
Image: New growth, flowers and buds
Image: Flowers closeup
Image: Spent flowers

Image: Foliage, flowers, buds, red leaf

Photo: Robert Whyte
Small to medium tree to 30m, slow growing, hardy, restricted to creek edges.

Bark, when mature, grey and fissured. Branchlets often drooping hence the common name Weeping Lilly-Pilly.

Mature leaves thick and rigid, opposite, dark green and glossy above, paler below, oblong-lanceolate to narrowly elliptical to 15cm sometimes larger, wavy margins, ending in a point.

Numerous lateral veins and distinct intra-marginal vein. Oil dots small, numerous.

Flowers in panicles, white, abundant, with numerous stamens (October to December).

Fruit a greenish white berry with a single large seed, ripe January - May.

Like many "Lilly-Pillies" they can be affected by Psyllids which casuse a pimpling of the leaf surface.

Image: New growth, flowers and budsBack to top

Photo: Robert Whyte
In the spring there is a flush of beautiful new growth in a light green, sometimes reddish, and when the leaves age they turn red befopre they fall, also seen in late Winter and Spring.

This is the dominant species along Brisbane creek banks on the western and northern sides of the city (north of Mt Coot-tha, less common south west of Mt Coot-tha). It forms a beautiful canopy, produces deep shade and its roots stabilse creek banks.

The loss of these trees especially due to clearing after 1974 flooods has led to the degradation of many sections of creek. It is now known that the clearing was counterproductive and does nothing to help flood mitigation. In fact it causes erosion, which makes things much worse.

Image: Flowers closeupBack to top

Photo: Robert Whyte
Waterhousea floribunda is a member of the MYRTACEAE, often aromatic plants in the myrtle family, including the Eucalypts.

The abundant flowers attract bees.

Common names include Weeping Lillypilly, Satin Ash, and Large-leaved Water Gum.

Prev. known as Waterhousea floribunda.

Waterhousea after Frederick George Waterhouse, South Australian museum curator. Floribunda means profusely flowering.

Image: Spent flowersBack to top

Photo: Robert Whyte
Said to be difficult to propagate, we have seen thousands come up from seed resting on damp soil under large trees. They can be pricked out directly from the creekbank. To propagate in a nursery, put half creek sand (deco) and half potting mix in a polystyrene box with good drainage to about 10cm. Cover with a mixture of recently fallen fruit (from the ground) both black and green, and fresh (but ripe) fruit from the trees to a depth of about 3 cm. Be aware that this is a HUGE amount of seed. Pick out obvious weeds as they emerge, but be aware that good plants are likely to come through as well. Some fruit germinates quickly, others take up to three months or more. They MUST be kept moist, but are generally not likely to propagate if buried, if they appear to be drying out, springle a small amount of potting mix over them, but don't cover them.