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Native Quince

Alectryon subcinereus see leaf Drawing
Sapindaceae
Native Quince
Common

These small trees have alternate, compound leaves, each made up of 2-4 pairs of leaflets. This may be hard to see at first, because the leaflets are quite large, well-spaced, not in opposite pairs and there is no terminal leaflet. The leaflet stalk is very short and swollen and there is a distinctive bump where the leaf stalk joins the main stem. The leaflets usually have a few coarse teeth in the upper half. In some rainforest patches, only young plants are found but, in others, there are small trees with fluted or twisted trunks.

The clusters of small, pink flowers may be found at various times of the year. The fruit is usually bilobed. Each lobe is up to 9 mm diameter and, when split open, reveals a very distinctive seed, each shiny-black and surrounded by a bright-red, fleshy, extra covering (an aril), which gives the seed the appearance of a bloodshot eye. The plant can be propagated from fresh seed after the aril is removed; the seed germinates readily in 1-4 weeks. Native Quince is hardy, either in a forest patch or garden and the fruit is attractive to birds.

Distribution: East GippsIand (Vic) to Kroombit Tops (Central Q1d).