Seed Swaps

Blue Lilly Pilly 'Syzygium oleosum': growing well

09 Sep 2011
Rainy 17°C / 63°F

Picked these seeds from one of the local trees, selecting for size and deformity free fruit (we’ll know in 10 years if that made any difference. :)

The suggested method is to sow them fresh, which I did. I also removed the flesh.

They’ve all germinated but at their own speed and with their own quirks it seems.
The fruit is a single round(ish) seed but upon sprouting anywhere between 1 and 6 separate seedlings will emerge. I thought I must have been fat fingered when I was sowing them but there were too many of them like it. An alternative was that the seed must have been segmented and I just missed it when they had been removed from the flesh, being slimy and not scrubbed clean (of course!) However, on pricking them out into their own pots, there isn’t anything so obvious about it. They separate easily enough but the seed hasn’t divided evenly, it appears to have fractured, there is no even division of the flesh.

No matter, they are growing well and with multiple seedlings per seed I can safely say they have 100% germination. (DW’s behind me so I won’t say it’s more than 100% or I’ll get a back hander :-)

And… apparently Polyembryony is the magical term to use in cases like this.




Just looked it up – I didn’t have a clue about it. The fruit looks a very vibrant colour. Have you eaten them? I’m guessing they must be good if you are growing from seed.

Posted on 10 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)


Folia Helper


They are commonly planted as street trees around here – or were. They don’t plant them any more as the punters kept moaning about the berries – they are very productive and so a tad messy!
They come in a host of colours, this one is a purple’y/blue with a reasonable amount of flesh 5mm around the 6mm (1/4") seed. We tasted these ones and they were fairly bland, which was a bit of a surprise. They are meant to make a good jam but also have a lot of other uses. Daleys has some useful info as well, and list the Riberry variety which seems to be a worthy one.

I’m growing them as an experiment, with their intended use in a larger area. They are an attractive tree, fruit abundantly and, of course, edible. I’m not sure if livestock will like them but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Posted on 10 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

Even your source says it is a single seed, so this germination is most interesting! Is there such a thing as Lilly Pilly wine?

Posted on 10 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

Congrats on the successful germination. We have a couple of these trees planted in our school grounds. Unfortuantely they’ve been planted around the waiting area near the front gate and we’ve had loads of complaints from parents about the mess when the fruits drop. Of course the kids can’t resist stomping on them and generally making the mess worse!

Posted on 10 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)


Folia Helper


@flowerweaver, Yep, a single seed. I divvied some more up today and I almost suspect there was a cotyledon buried in the middle of one of the seed segments – the weirdest thing I’ve seen yet.

@Bernieh, Kids? Like squishing purple berries? Surely not! :-) But then what a place to plant them!

Posted on 11 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

Graibeard, I know the people who grow lillypillies for eating take cuttings of the nicer flavoured trees. Multiple embryos, go figure I never knew they did that! I know that Kensington mangoes do that and they are also true from the seed, so maybe your lillypillies will be true to the parent tree? I don’t know.

Flowerweaver, you can make wine out of anything! I have a friend who made wine from Podocarpus ‘fruit’. If lillypilly wine is half as bad as Podocarpus wine, well it would make a tea totaller out of the hardiest soul. I’ve made LP jam, but frankly it isn’t my favourite thing either. I know its supposed to have cherry, cinnamony flavours, but I don’t taste that. I like the fruit for its beauty and because the birds like it. I don’t have to plant them when there are so many trees around town with fruit lying on the ground. They really are prolific.

Bernieh, they should have planted Blue Tongue (Melastoma affine) at the school. The kids wouldn’t have squished their berries when its so much more fun to eat them and then stick your heavily stained tongue out at each other!

Edited because I forgot to say, great photo!

Posted on 13 Sep 11 (over 4 years ago)

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