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Australian blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa)


Bursaria spinosa is a small tree or shrub in the family Pittosporaceae. The species occurs in mainly in the eastern and southern half of Australia and not in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Reaching 10 m (35 ft) high, it bears fragrant white flowers at any time of year but particularly summer. A common understory shrub of eucalyptus woodland, it colonises disturbed areas and fallow farmland. It is an important food plant for several species of butterflies and moths, particularly those of the genus Paralucia, and native bees. First collected in the vicinity of Port Jackson, Bursaria spinosa was first described by Antonio José Cavanilles in 1797. It is known by many common names, including Australian blackthorn, blackthorn, Christmas bush, mock orange, native blackthorn, native box, native olive, prickly box, prickly pine, spiny box, spiny bursaria, sweet bursaria, thorn box and whitethorn. Summer flowering has given rise to the name (Tasmanian) Christmas bush in Tasmania and South Australia (not to be confused with Prostanthera lasianthos). Indigenous names recorded include kurwan in Coranderrk, Victoria, and geapga from Lake Hindmarsh Station.

Taxonomic tree

  • Domain: Eukarya

    • Kingdom: Plantae

      • Phylum:

        • Class: Magnoliopsida

          • Order: Apiales

            • Family: Pittosporaceae

              • Genus: Bursaria