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Alphitonia excelsa - Red Ash / Soap Tree / Leatherjacket - 20 seeds

Alphitonia excelsa - Red Ash / Soap Tree / Leatherjacket - 20 seeds

A lovely ornamental and also makes a great fodder plant for sheep and cattle!
This fast growing Australian native growing up to 21m in warm moist conditions but can remain a smaller tree when grown in open situations in cooler climates.
It is widely distributed in Eucalypt forests and on the margins of warmer rainforest in the NT, QLD and WA, often in sheltered gullies or on steep slopes and in coastal regions from North QLD to the south coast of NSW in or near rainforest.
It has a great form and foliage can even extend near the ground level.
The trunk and larger branches are grey and fissured with the smaller branches have smoother grey to white bark, Lichens are often found on the trunks of older specimens.
It has alternately arranged leaves that are narrow to elliptic 7 - 12cm long x 2 - 5cm wide, venation is prominent and yellowish below and sunken above with a whitish grey to rusty golden tomentose covering on the undersides and on the young branches and inflorescences can also have this tomentose (hairy) covering the stems.
Young shoots give off an interesting aroma similar to sarsparilla when bruised or broken.
Greenish white 5 petalled flowers are individually insignificant but when they bloom together in creamy white clusters, they are very showy occurring in late Autumn to Winter.  The fruits that follow are also attractive, are an ovoid to globular blackish coloured drupe 6 - 15mm in diameter with a raised ring around the middle, the powdery red flesh of the drupe covers 2 hard cells each containing a single seed, the seeds can persist on the tree for several months.
This is a great fodder plant that is less astringent as some others and suitable for sheep and cattle, the timber is light brown to reddish in colour and is suitable for cabinet work, tool handles and boat building.
Indigenous Australians have used the crushed leaves and berries as a fish poison and medicinally use the crushed leaves into a paste mixed with water and applied as a head bath to reduce headaches and treat sore eyes.  The root and bark infusions are rubbed on the body to reduce muscular aches and gargled to cure toothaches.
The leaves contain saponin, so when crushed they can be lathered to produce a bush soap.
This is also a food plant for many Lepidoptera caterpillars so it is a great plant to have to encourage butterflies and birds in your garden.
Can be semi-deciduous in cooler climates and in the dry season, many leaves are shed  and the remaining leaves hang vertically to reduce water loss.
20 premium quality seeds shipped on receipt of cleared funds.
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