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Tree Violet

Hymenanthera dentata
Violaceae
Tree Violet
Very Common

The Tree Violet is the commonest of the native "Prickle Bushes" around Robertson. The alternate dark-green leaves are soft, with toothed edges and a blunt tip. In the angle between most leaves and the stem is a strong spine. These spines persist even on the leafless older stems.

This species is often seen as a shrub on the outer edges of rainforest patches but it can also grow into a small tree. Although it is in the same plant family as the garden violet, the flowers of the Tree Violet look quite different. In spring, numerous, very small, cream bells, with a strong perfume, hang along the branches of the bushes. These flowers turn into pale-green berries, which eventually turn purple in late summer.

It is a very hardy plant and a good colonizing species in a regeneration area. It provides a windbreak for other plants, a support for vines and a shelter for small, native birds.

The purplish fruit should have the flesh removed before the seeds are planted. They germinate readily. Small plants from seed carried by birds can be found under many large trees.

Distribution: Tas to Northern NSW; also SA.