Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Bursaria spinosa subsp. spinosa

The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan - February

Common name sweet bursaria, blackthorn
Scientific name Bursaria spinosa subsp. spinosa Cayzer et al.
Family  Pittosporaceae

Genus: From Latin, bursa, bag, purse-like. Referring to the capsules.

Species: From Latin, spinosus, spiny or thorny, referring to the spiny branches.

Distribution Widespread in all states of Australia except the Northern Territory.
Native habitat Occurs in a variety of habitats from coastal to inland and subalpine conditions.

Tall slender shrub or small spreading tree.

Flowering/fruiting Flowers in summer.

Location in Garden

At Mount Annan you can see it in the Woodland Conservation Areas and throughout the site wherever the local natural vegetation is retained.


A common species of the Cumberland Plain Woodland, sweet bursaria is a valuable forest understorey shrub which grows throughout the Sydney region. An important component of the woodland habitat, it attracts many insects such as butterflies, moths, bees and beetles which in turn attract insectivorous birds. It is a useful honey-producing plant and a rich source of nectar for animals. Small birds such as the blue wren nest among the prickly branches, which protect them from predators.

Another of this plant’s qualities is the oil, aesculin, contained in the leaves, which is known to absorb ultraviolet light. The leaves were used by early settlers to prevent sunburn.



Bursaria spinosa

Bursaria spinosa

Bursaria spinosa