Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Ceratopetalum gummiferum

The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney - December

Common name New South Wales Christmas bush
Scientific name Ceratopetalum gummiferum Sm.
Family  Cunoniaceae

Genus: Ceratopetalum - from the Greek ceras, - horn; petalon, petal - one species has petals resembling stag’s horns.

Species: gummiferum - yielding gum.

Distribution Endemic in NSW, east of the Great Dividing Range from Ulladulla north to Evans Head.
Native habitat Rainforest and open forest.
Description 3-10 m tall x 2-6 m wide. Leaves trifoliolate, leaflets 3-7 cm x 0.6-1.4 cm, with margin shallowly toothed, dark green above, paler beneath. Inflorescences terminal; flowers about 6mm across, white, numerous; sepals enlarge in fruit and become bright red.
Flowering/fruiting Flowers appear September to November. Persistent red sepals from Christmas till late summer.

Location in Garden

Growing in beds 1b, 68, 128a. Click here for map of garden beds & grid.


Propagate from seed. Selections needed for deep red sepals best grown from cuttings which may take several months to strike. Grown commercially by cut flower growers. Widely cultivated in gardens because of lovely display at Christmas time. Tolerant of frost, intolerant of bad drainage. Needs to be grown in a well drained position with ample soil moisture. Responds favourably to fertilizer applications and mulching. Not known to be weedy.

This plant is presently not available from the Growing Friends.  

Ceratopetalum gummiferum