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Plant of the month June

Common Name: Johnstone River Almond

Scientific Name: Elaecarpus bancroftii F. Muell & F.M. Bailey 

Family: Elaecarpaceae




From the Greek word elaia for olive and karpos for fruit

Species epithet:

Named for Dr. Joseph Bancroft (1836-94), surgeon and farmer, arrived in Queensland in 1864.


Restricted to north-eastern Queensland in tropical wet forests of coastal lowlands from Cooktown southwards to

Native Habitat

Rainforest from sea level to 1200 metres.


Grows to 10-30 metres tall with a spreading canopy. Leaves large, mid-green ovate and leathery, turning bright red to
scarlet as they age and fall.

Flowers and Fruit

White bell shaped flowers (approximately 15mm across) with fringed petals hang in clusters during autumn. They are
followed by blue-green football-shaped fruit about 40mm diameter with a leathery sometimes fleshy outer layer. Inside the fruit, the seed is encased in a hard case known as an endocarp.

Location in Garden

Lawn 24 (The Band Lawn), Lawn 62b towards the Opera House Gate.
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The seed once extracted from the hard outer shell (endocarp) has a nutty flavour similar to macadamias and can be eaten fresh or dried. It has traditionally been eaten by Aboriginal people and special ‘nut-stones’ are often left under trees in order to crack open the nut and reveal the seed. Seeds are being investigated for their commercial potential and can be eaten fresh, or dried. 

The fallen fruits are eaten by Southern Cassowaries (Casuarinas casuarius) who help distribute the seed. Seeds are eaten by one of Australia’s largest rodents, the Giant Whitetailed Rat (Uromys caudimaculatus). It can grow to 1kg and is about the size of a rabbit or small cat.

Johnstone River Almond is also known as the Kuranda Quandong and prefers moist, well-drained soil in full to part sun. Germination of the seed is slow with a low germination rate. Germination can take 2 or more years.

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