Berberidopsis beckleri

Scientific name: Berberidopsis beckleri

Author: (F. Muell.) Veldk. [Streptothamnus beckleri F. Muell.] 

Common name: Montane Tape Vine

Family: Flacourtiaceae


berberidopsis beckleri   


The ‘evergreen’ glossy leaves of this tangled climber provide a wild, tropical feel to the south-east edge of the top entrance to the Gondwana Walk. Bed GW208c is home to Australian plants with Gondwanan connections.

Today, the genus Berberidopsis is considered to contain only two living species. The other, Berberidopsis corallina, listed by the IUCN [International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural resources], as ‘endangered’, is a Chilean plant. Though not flowering at present, we are fortunate to have this plant in our Mount Tomah collection. Learn more about South America’s previous links with Australia and other, mostly Southern Hemisphere, landmasses on the Gondwana Walk!

Sunny edges of high altitude [usually greater than 800 m] rainforest, from the McPherson Range on the southern Queensland border to Barrington Tops in the north of New South Wales, is the natural distribution of this ‘uncommon’ Montane Tape Vine. Its roots are often in moist, fertile, volcanic soil. Our Mount Tomah plant, propagated from material collected at Barrington Tops in 1986, seems to have all its needs met in its present location. Perhaps this is why it has rewarded us with flowers.

A note of concern can be found in ‘Native Plants of Queensland, Volume 2’ where Keith Williams states that, ‘It could easily become an endangered species if the areas of occurrence are not given full protection.’ He also advocates its horticultural merit.

There’s a tangled taxonomic history too! Originally described by Ferdinand von Mueller in 1862 as Streptothamnus beckleri and only re-classified as Berberidopsis beckleri by Jan Frederik Veldkamp in 1984. The older name is how you will find it listed in many standard texts. And, don’t be surprised if the plant family name is also different.