Australian Ebony Hartley's Creek

Australian Ebony

Diospyros compacta

Did You Know?

  • Anindilyakwa people believe that evil spirits which kill people climb this tree, they also note that birds eat the fruit (Levitt 1981)
  • Fruit, eaten by some Aboriginal people when ripe, has a floury texture
FactBox Image

The Greek "dios" means divine or god-like, and "pyros" means wheat, a reference to the fruit of the gods, as some of the members of the genus have tasty fruit.

A small shrub-like tree with a height of 11 m.

It also flowers and fruits as a shrub. Very dark, mottled grey to black bark on the trunk/body of the tree.

Leaves

Thick leathery leaves 7 - 9 cm long.

Fruits/Seeds

Produces berries that become red when ripe. Fruiting occurs twice a year January – May and October - December.

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What to Observe

  • Healthy or unhealthy trees

  • Presence of berries (ripe or unripe)

Climate Adaptations

We expect to see signs of stress and dieback in relation to climate change warming and drying their environments. The timing and patterns of fruiting are also likely to change.

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When and Where

When To Look

  • Flowers during February, October and November
  • Fruits produced from January to May and October to December

Where To Look

  • Found in mangrove habitats, and toward the fresh water of tidal creeks
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What Else?

Similar Species

Black Ebony (Diospyros humilis) is similar in appearance, however can be distinguished by its smaller and more bladed leaves. Dead bark is often quite dark, almost black and layered with brown brittle stripes in the blaze.