Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Elaeocarpus grandis

The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney - March

Common name blue quandong, blue fig, silver quandong
Scientific name Elaeocarpus grandis F. Muell.
syn. E. angustifolius Blume
Family  Elaeocarpaceae

Genus: Greek. elaia - olive & karpos - fruit

Species: grandis - Latin - large

Distribution Occurs in Northern Territory, Cape York Peninsula, north-east Queensland and southwards as far as north-eastern New South Wales.
Native habitat Endemic native species, common in riverine and lowland subtropical rainforest on moist, well drained deep alluvial soils and along streams.

Fast growing tree with buttresses conspicuous even when relatively small. Leaves are finely toothed, elliptic to oblong and dark green. Old leaves turn bright red to scarlet in colour before falling.

Grows to 24 metres in cultivation, 35 m in natural habitat.


Flowers are a cream, one-sided raceme in autumn. Each flower is bell shaped with 5 fringed petals. Fruit - globose drupe, 20-30 mm diam., unusual iridescent blue, stone deeply sculptured, like a brain.

Fruiting from winter to mid-summer.

Location in Garden

Bed 11. Click here for map of garden beds & grid.


Bird attracting. The fruit is a favourite food of fig birds and fruit pigeons. Also eaten by cassowaries.

Colour of fruits are not from anthocyanins, but from layered filters to create patterns of light interference. Rare in plants, but more common in insects.

Fruit stones were used by Aboriginal people for necklaces. Aboriginal people of the north were known to make up an edible paste of the ripe fruit by squashing them into a bark trough filled with water.

Prefers moist, well drained soil in full to partial sun. Germination of the seed is slow with a low strike rate.

The wood is easy to glue and stain and is very suitable for bent work. It is used for plywood, veneers, furniture, joinery, racing oars and boat planking.

Not considered weedy.