Bursaria spinosa

Family Pittosporaceae


Rigid, much-branched shrub or small tree to 10 m high, usually with thorny branches. Lifespan long probably up to 60 years.

Flowers: White or cream, January - May.Pollinated by native bee Chalicodoma derelicta.

Fruit: Red-brown purse-like capsule 5-7 mm long. Matures during April–May.

Seeds: Flattened, 2.6 x 3.4 mm in size. Wind-dispersed and with morphological dormancy.

Gallery images: seed, seedling, rootstock, resprout


  • Woodland habitat.
  • Very common in woodland, may form dense thickets as seen at the Australian Botanic Garden.
  • Seedlings establish during extended rain periods.
  • Young plants grazed by rabbits.
  • Pittosporum beetle Lamprolina aeneipennis, easily recognised by their bright red head, often seen on shrubs.
  • Sooty mould and scale insects often associated with ants occur on Bursaria periodically.
  • After fire resprouts basally from a large tuberous root system.

Ecology of Cumberland Plain Woodland

Bursaria spinosa plant

Bursaria spinosa flower

Bursaria spinosa fruit

Bursaria spinosa seed