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Prickly Coprosma

Coprosma quadrifida
Rubiaceae
Prickly Coprosma
Common

This small to medium sized shrub (rarely, a small tree) can be recognized by its small (0.5-1 cm long), soft leaves, without teeth on' the edges, that are opposite on the stem. There are no spines in the forks of the leaves, as there are in Citriobatus and Hymenanthera but, as they get older, the small branchlets develop spines at the ends.

The small, inconspicuous, male and female flowers are carried on separate plants. In mid to late summer, small shiny, red berries are found scattered on the female bushes. These small (5-8 mm long) fruit are edible and were eaten by the early settlers but they are mainly seed and are not very tasty.

Prickly Coprosma is the least spiny of the local "prickle bushes" and, like the others, can be found on the edge of rainforest patches, where it helps protect the forest floor from drying winds. It grows into an attractively shaped shrub and would look well in a shady garden, as well as in the rainforest.

The species can be grown from seed, which should have the flesh removed, generally taking 1-3 months to germinate. It can also be grown from cuttings.

Distribution: Tas to Tenterfield (NSW)