Melicope elleryana (F.Muell) T.G.Hartley 2001
pronounced: mell-ee-KOH-pay ell-er-ree-AH-nuh
(Rutaceae — the lemon family)
synonym: Euodia elleryana F.Muell. 1865
pronounced: yoo-OH-dee-uh ell-er-ree-AH-nuh
common names: Euodia, Pink Euodia, Corkwood
Melicope comes from two Greek words, μελι (meli), honey, and κοπη (kopé), a division, the latter referring to divisions in the ovary; ευωδια (euodia), means ‘a sweet smell’. Elleryana indicates that it was named for someone called Ellery, but I have been unable to establish for certain who this was. My best guess is that it was Robert Ellery (1827–1908), who was Government Astronomer of the state of Victoria at the same time that Ferdinand von Mueller (1825–1896), who named the species, was its Government Botanist.
This tree is a native Australian, growing in coastal riverine rainforests and stream banks north of the Clarence River in New South Wales, up the Queensland coast, in northern areas of the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and into New Guinea. The clusters of rose pink flowers appear on the branches in summer, and attract many species of birds, butterflies and insects. Nectar feeders such as lorikeets find the flowers irresistible, while seed eaters are later attracted to its seeds. It is the host tree for the Ulysses butterfly Papilio ulysses, whose larvae feed on its leaves.The 4-o'clock moth Dysphania numana also feeds on the plant.
It is a handy tree for suburban gardens, parks and streetscapes, as it will tolerate unfavourable sites such as car parks. It is fast-growing, and in the garden will grow up to about 6 m tall, while in its natural habitat it can grow as high as 25 m. It does not do so well in windy situations.
The bole of the tree is cylindrical and straight, and there are sometimes buttresses. The bark is a brownish pale red, or white, brownish grey or pale brown, somewhat corky in appearance. The leaves are opposite and trifoliate, spaced along the branches in opposite pairs. The lower surface of the leaves is green or pale green, the upper surface dark green.
The clusters of flowers are produced on the old wood below the leaves. The flowers on a branched axis are bisexual, with many planes of symmetry. The styles are solitary. The infructescence is arranged on a branched axis, with fruits up to 8 mm long and 12 mm in diameter, brownish black, grey or brown. They are indehiscent, and the seeds are not winged.
Photographs taken in Picnic Bay 2005-2013
Page last updated 27th December 2016